Summer festivals are slowly picking up speed

Thursday, August 19, 2021

This year, rarely performed gems are also on concert programs, such as this evening as part of the Innsbruck Early Music Festival: Johann Mattheson’s opera Boris Goudenow.

Mattheson set the story of the Russian tsar Boris Godunov to music in 1710 for the Gänsemarkt opera house in Hamburg. But the work was not performed, presumably in deference to diplomatic complications at the time with Russia, and the opera was forgotten. The score, kept at the city library in Hamburg, was long thought to be lost after the Second World War. It turned up later in Yerevan, Armenia and was returned with other Hamburg music manuscripts in 1998. Today, the score is housed in the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Carl von Ossietzky Hamburg (D-Hs), whose holdings are largely cataloged in RISM (RISM ID no. 45201416).

After this long delay, the premiere took place in a concert version in Hamburg in 2005. A performance was staged the same year in Boston. Tonight and on three other dates, the dramma per musica in three acts with words and music by Johann Mattheson will sound once again.

Image: Title page of the opera Boris Goudenow (1710) by Johann Mattheson, from Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

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