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The Royal Opera House

Opera Guide: Khovanshchina

Mussorgsky’s last opera dramatizes the conspiracy of Prince Khovansky against Tsar Peter the Great, and the epic ends with the exile, murder and suicide of all the power groups of old Russia. When Musorgsky died in 1881, it was unfinished, and Rimsky-Korsakov completed it; Ravel and Stravinsky made another version for Diaghilev in 1911; in 1959 Shostakovich went back to the original and rediscovered a masterpiece. Caryl Emerson offers a provocative reading of Mussorgsky’s achievement. Gerard McBurney relates the non-European inspiration in the score to Mussorgsky’s conception of history, while Rosamund Bartlett describes the cultural impetus for his historical vision.

Apocalypse Then, Now, and (for Us) Never:
Reflections on Mussorgsky’s Other Historical Opera, Caryl Emerson
Mussorgsky’s Music of Time, Gerard McBurney
‘Khovanshchina’ in Context, Rosamund Bartlett
Khovanshchina: Libretto by Modest Mussorgsky
The Khovansky Affair: English translation by Carol Borah Palca

ENO Libretto 48
Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Page extent: 128 pages
Size: 21.5 x 14 cm portrait
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 9780714544496