Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov (1872) is set in the ‘Time of Troubles’, using Pushkin’s incisive verse tragedy on the chaotic period preceding the establishment of the Romanovs. Such a work was bound to draw the attention of the censors, and Musorgsky’s two versions of the opera also led to various ‘improved’ versions that conflated scenes from each. Despite all the interference it has suffered, in any of its forms it remains a formidable exploration of power, as well as a highly moving personal drama.
Marina Frolova-Walker is Visiting Professor of Russian Music at Gresham College. She is a Russian-born British musicologist and music historian. She is Professor of Music History and Director of Studies in Music at Clare College, Cambridge. She specialises in Russian and Soviet music and has authored several books and a number of academic articles on the subject.