René Pape will make his house role debut as Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera (Oct 11-30, with October 23 "Live in HD" broadcast).
The press is eagerly anticipating Pape’s first Met portrayal of the Russian tsar, giving the ‘glorious and powerful’ bass star coverage in several notable publications. Pape graced the cover of Opera News’s September issue, and in the New York Observer Zachary Woolfe writes about what New York audiences can expect to see and hear when the singer assumes his crown:
“The sheer beauty of the voice can make you forget how thoughtful the portrayals really are, how carefully each word is considered. He does the thing that great operatic voices do so well, particularly in his repertoire of conflicted gods and wounded kings: combining authority with vulnerability and tenderness. There are no broad effects, no yelling or sobbing, just a truthfulness that makes his characters' emotions seem, in the way opera makes possible, simultaneously individualized and archetypal.”
After a production of Mussorgsky’s opera at Dresden's Semper Oper in 2008, Pape’s performance in the title role was acclaimed for its theatrical power and technical sophistication. A critic for the Frankfurter Rundschau described how he "is not just a glorious and powerful voice planted on the stage, but also [he] succeeds as a figure driven to madness by stress, tension and despair. … Pape sings Boris with a voice beautifully modulated in every register and at every volume – tender, nuanced in the expression of his self-doubt, his urge for power, being an attentive father and the awareness of own guilt. There is no better performer of this role in the world today." The Met's production of Boris Godunov is directed by Stephen Wadsworth. After the opening fall run, Pape will return as Boris to the Met in March 2011.