ABSTRACT

Robert Lloyd discusses the background to the opera's creation, the strong influence of Feodor Chaliapin and Boris Christ off, two famous interpreters of the main role. He also explains how the experience of taking on three directors' vastly different approaches to the role has affected his relationship to the part. 'Boris Godunov' is not a very long role: there are many others which are much longer Mephistopheles, Gurnemanz, Procida, Leporello, Figaro, Rocco to name but a few all of which are in many ways more demanding in terms of voice and musicianship. But Boris has characteristics which make it uniquely demanding and uniquely satisfying. Finally, the death scene demands the full range of personality, switching in and out of sanity, coping with crippling physical illness, and appalled concern for the vulnerable child who will succeed him on the Throne. Then the death itself is deeply frustrated and reluctant: there is tension to the very end. He is not ready to go.