By way of an epigraph, a confession from a Russian music forum:
Fidelio… The singers poured beer on each other… or threw beer cans — I don’t remember which and don’t want to recall. Act II began with Florestan lying on a tavern table under a naked Rubensian woman… Where was it? In Germany, the motherland of perverted stagings.
It is sometimes said that Mussorgsky got closer to realizing Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk concept than Wagner himself, and if so, it would be unfair if the Russian’s operas were exempt from the treatment accorded in the past thirty years to the German’s music-dramas, as well as simpler operas by Verdi, Bizet and others. Yet while it is enough to read descriptions of Peter Konwitschny’s productions to rate them D-, Dmitry Chernyakov‘s work is only controversial, that is, the jury is still out.
This time, Chernyakov was invited to do a Boris Godunov for Berlin State Opera, with Daniel Barenboim conducting and René Pape singing Boris. If your read Russian, you’ll find interesting chat and links on this page. For now, I’ll just link to a Kommersant review with pictures. No naked boyars in sight.
Early reports suggest Pape was an excellent Boris.