The General Intonation in the Performance of “Boris Godunov” of Vsevolod Meyerhold — Sergei Prokofiev

Keywords: Sergei Prokofiev, Vsevolod Meyerhold, “Boris Godunov” by Alexander Pushkin, All/Union Pushkin Committee.


The article dwells upon the process
of the artistic cooperation between Vsevolod
Meyerhold and Sergei Prokofiev by the example
of their collaborative work on Alexander
Pushkin’s play “Boris Godunov.”
The preparation for the actualization
of the conception had started long before
the main rehearsing period — in 1934,
after the issuance of the edict of the Politburo
of the Central Committee of the VKP(b)
(Communist Party) “Concerning the Foundation
of the All-Union Pushkin Committee
in connection with the centennial anniversary
of the death of Alexander Sergeyevich
Pushkin.” The performance was supposed
to have become the appropriate response
to the festivities of the Pushkin jubilee, but
it never got round to being performed at that
time. The peculiarities of the interpretation
of the drama in the dialogue of the two Masters
are examined on the basis of the materials
connected with the history of the creation
of the performance and the music to it. Analysis
is made of the semantic content of the musical
numbers (“The Song of the Lonely Wanderer”
and the “Songs of Loneliness”), which carry out
the function of the through leit-motifs
and indirectly characterize Boris Godunov
and the Pretender, and also play an important
role in the formation of the “general intonation”
of the performance. The conclusion is arrived
at that the “politically saturated” production
of Vsevolod Meyerhold and Sergei Prokofiev
touched upon the prohibited “territory of meanings”: the denoted implication
unwittingly projected itself on the personal fate
of the ruler of the Soviet state.

Musical Theater