Estimated duration

3 h 20 min.

Organizer

Helsingin tapahtumasäätiö sr

Khovanshchina’s story of greed, power and madness resonates in our time stronger than ever before.

The history of Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Khovanshchina is fascinating and complex. Mussorgsky started the project already in 1872 while still working on the opera Boris Godunov. The composer began a compulsive investigation into a dark part of Russian history, the 17th century rebellion of the streltsy, soldiers armed with muskets. The events, full of conspiracies and ruthless violence, did not leave the composer alone, but Mussorgsky only managed to complete the piano score before his death in 1881. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov finalised the work, and the opera premiered in 1886.

The opera will be performed at Helsinki Festival as a previously-unheard concert version compiled by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The grand production conducted by Salonen will bring a group of more than one hundred musicians onto the stage: the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Latvian Radio Choir, Tapiola Chamber Choir and dozens of soloists. The orchestration devised by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1959 and the finale arranged by Igor Stravinsky are woven together by sound artist Tuomas Norvio, who has worked extensively with electronic music. British composer Gerard McBurney has also been involved in the creation of this unique interpretation.

Khovanshchina’s story of greed, power and madness resonates in our time stronger than ever before.