La Khovantchina

Not the most famous opera of Mussorgsky, this opera has a weird history for me. I first heard it because I bought it from one library, then I traded it for another opera. But I started to like it at the same time, so I bought it again, this time from another library.

The compositional history of this opera is equally convoluted. Mussorgsky had huge health problems at the time of writing. He suffered from excessive alcoholism and died of the consequences at 42 years old. Several of his works were left unfinished, amongst which was La Khovantchina.

As happened with more works of the influential “The Five” (Balakirev, Cui, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin), it was Rimsky-Korsakov that finished the work and prepared it for the premiere in 1986. It was again revised in 1913 by Stravinsky and Ravel, and again in 1960 by Shostakovich.

I had some trouble finding out which version this is. The booklet is in French, and my French is not bad, but it is only describing the versions, but saying which version this is. The wikipedia article about this opera mentions this recording as being the Rimsky-Korsakov version.

I am missing the box. I think when I bought it, it was already no longer there, but it might also be it was too badly damaged. I keep this collection in a plastic sleeve.

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