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Boris Godunov

Modest Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881)

Informationen Zum Werk

Opera in four acts / seven parts
Libretto by Modest P. Mussorgsky, based on Alexander Puschkin and Nikolai Karamsin
World premiere: 8th February 1874 in St. Petersburg
World premiere of the version from 1869: 5 March 1929 in Moscow
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: 17th June 2017

In Russian language with German and English surtitles

2 hrs 15 mins / No interval

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance



Kirill Karabits

Stage Director

Richard Jones


Elaine Kidd

Set design

Miriam Buether

Costume design

Nicky Gillibrand

Movement Director

Silke Sense

Light design

Mimi Jordan Sherin

Chorus Master

Jeremy Bines

Children's Chorus

Christian Lindhorst

Boris Godunov

Sir Bryn Terfel


Alexandra Hutton
Meechot Marrero (06.03.2019 | 09.03.2019)

Kseniya's nurse

Maiju Vaahtoluoto

Prince Vasiliy Ivanovich Shuysky

Maxim Paster
Burkhard Ulrich (06.03.2019 | 09.03.2019)

Andrey Shchelkalov, Clerk of the Duma

Dong-Hwan Lee

Pimen, chronicler-hermit

Ante Jerkunica

The Pretender under the name Grigoriy

Robert Watson

The Innkeeper

Annika Schlicht

The yurodiviy

Matthew Newlin
Gideon Poppe (06.03.2019 | 09.03.2019)


Andrew Harris


Andrew Dickinson
Ya-Chung Huang (31.01.2019 | 03.02.2019 | 06.03.2019 | 09.03.2019)

Mityukha, a peasant

Stephen Bronk

About the performance

Political processes and the special dynamic associated with them are at the core of BORIS GODUNOV, Modest Mussorgsky’s only completed opera. Having created, in Czar Boris, one of the most striking characters in the history of opera - an intelligent ruler and benevolent father, who came to the throne by dint of sound leadership, a smart marriage but also the murder of a child -, Mussorgsky then portrays the ruler’s demise, with Boris in the end succumbing to his own bad conscience, under pressure from his external enemies.

The Boris we are shown is not an autonomous individual who is proactive in steering and influencing politics but meets an heroic end as a result of tragic ensnarement. Rather he is subject to the imperatives of political processes, imperatives that he is only marginally more able to influence than his own people, whom Mussorgsky depicts as a kind of second protagonist through his impressive chorus scenes. In their suffering at the hands of an absolutist czar and aristocracy and also in their manifestation as riotous mob in the final revolution scene in the opera, the people are presented as an anonymous mass, devoid of an awareness of their own role, power and responsibility. Yet the composer allows individual characters to stand out from the crowd. He manages, often with great economy of dialogue, to confer on these characters contours of personality and destinies as a way of painting a nuanced and ambivalent picture of the power and impotence behind individual actions.

The piece was staged by the English director Richard Jones, who is a regular at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and has also worked at the New York City Opera, the English National Opera, the opera houses of Amsterdam and Frankfurt and the Bregenz Festival. He gave his Berlin debut in 2004 at the Komische Oper Berlin with Alban Berg’s WOZZECK. BORIS GODUNOV was his first directorial project at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Our Sponsors

A Coproduction with Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London
The Children’s Chorus is ponsored by Dobolino e.V. [the support association for the Children’s Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin] and Berliner Volksbank