Opera in Moscow

Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Opera in Moscow

Planning to go to Bolshoi to see Boris Gudinov. Since I am not familiar with this work, is there anyplace on the web where I can find a synopsis of the story. I am also getting mixed messages about dress for the opera. Some on this site said don't bother with a jacket and tie but the person from the cruise line (who is Russian) said most Russians do dress when they go to the Opera and Ballet? Thanks for advice.
fbeifeld is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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For synopsis:
yk is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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I've never seen it but know that it's a pretty long opera. Depending on how serious you are, you may want to consider getting a recording prior to going. Also you may want to check to see if there're English supertitles. If not, it's probably even more important to "prepare" for it.
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky is a masterpiece of Russian 19th century opera (along with Prince Igor by Borodin)(I have seen it numerous times, including one week when I saw it three times-in St Petersburg, in a castle on the Finnish border, and in Moscow).

A brief synopsis (more from an historical point, but also with clips from a movie) is at


(look on the timeline for 1875). Also, the web site is a great site for any fan of Russian culture. For a more detailed plot outline, go to


Note that some productions are different and use alternative arrangements (which is why I saw three in a week).

As for dress, there's always an interpretation of what is acceptable. I always advise clients to go in a jacket and tie, and almost all of my Russian friends do as well. In general, it's a little less formal than New York (and far less than, say, Budapest), but you won't go wrong dressed this way. As opera tickets were until recently (2000-2002) very affordable for most Russians, the dress was definitely on the casual side, but you see that less and less today.

I also recommend that you visit the house of the Romanov Boyars as a way to put yourself in the mood of the times depicted in Godunov. It's the (small) palace that the Romanov family owned before they became the ruling family in 1613. It's a five minute walk from St. Basil's, off of Red Square. The Romanovs took over Russia after the "Time of Troubles" (1598-1613), when Russia was torn by factionalism and false Czars.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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Interesting, if it's less formal than NYC, then smart casual is probably fine. These days I routinely go to the Met and Carnegie Hall in jeans and no one bats an eye -- granted at the Met I usually have the cheapest seats. But it's been a while since I wear a jacket and tie for concerts.
111op is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:44 AM
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Dress whatever way you want, most people do not dress up, it seemed it was only the large tour groups that dressed up. For information on the Bolshoi see bolshoi.ru
Garfield is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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FYI - we saw Anna Karenina at the Kirov a couple of years ago and the program was in both Russina and English - granted dance is a little easier to interpret w/o the story in advance (had somehow never read it!).
nytraveler is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2004, 11:10 AM
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No English supertitles, however the last time that I was at the Bolshoi (June) they did have Russian subtitles.
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