The Mariinsky theatre has prepared a special gift for residents and guests of our Northern capital for 8 March — on this day, it is going to present Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, the title role in which will be played by the celebrated Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, who achieved a real triumph at the premiere of Boris at La Scala in Milan in December 2022. The orchestra will be conducted by the maestro Valery Gergiev. The performance will be given on the stage of the St. Petersburg theatre Music Hall, which before long will be named after Feodor Chaliapin as the destiny of Feodor Ivanovich was closely connected with the opera hall of the People’s House (that was the name of the theatre when Chaliapin served there) in the 1910s.
Valery Gergiev has shared details about the forthcoming event: ‘Now we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate both the 150th birth anniversary of Feodor Chaliapin and the 150th anniversary of Sergei Rachmaninoff grandiosely and very widely at many venues and stages of the two capitals and in the provinces. One of the pages in the biography of Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin was the People’s House — here, in St. Petersburg. It is very pleasant to learn that this is now a new St. Petersburg theatre named after Feodor Chaliapin. Before the theatre closes for the renovation, we have decided to use this venue to put on a stage version of Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov with Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role. We think that the oeuvre of our legendary predecessors, the greatest Russian musicians, is a reason for us to search, think, and even feel obliged not to ignore such meaningful dates. The 150th birth anniversary of Chaliapin will be enriched by such a work as well, not even on Mariinsky’s stage, but on the stage of the theatre that is forever associated with Feodor Chaliapin’s biography. Feodor Ivanovich may be said to have guided this theatre as a captain, as an artistic director, and even on 25 October 1917, he sang there in the performance Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi. By the way, we will give the opera Don Carlos on 10 March, and then again, it will be dedicated to the memory of Feodor Chaliapin.’
On 8 March, Boris Godunov will be shown at the Music Hall in a stage version, boasting video scenery made by the artist Petr Okunev and based upon Andrei Tarkovsky’s legendary production, which has been running at the Mariinsky Theatre since 1990 thanks to Valery Gergiev’s initiative. For the first time this version was presented in the summer of 2022 during the 7th International Mariinsky Far East Festival: the maestro Gergiev took his place at the conductor’s desk, and Ildar Abdrazakov performed the part of Boris. In St. Petersburg, the famous bass will play the role of Boris in a performance for the first time. Prior to this, music lovers in St. Petersburg could hear him only in a concert version of this opera by Mussorgsky under the Stars of the White Nights festival.