A better Boris Godunov

René Pape, center, as the title character of Boris Godunov; courtesy Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD programming is back, and its new season begins with a rarity — the original (and shorter) version of Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.

An iconoclastic and sinewy masterpiece, it was rejected by the Imperial censors, apparently because it lacked a love story. Mussorgsky added one and smoothed out some of the first version’s cragginess in order to have it staged, but his revision lacks the taut focus on the tormented title character and the Russian people, who are the story’s true subject.

The Met’s highly praised staging features bass René Pape, the opera world’s reigning Boris in the title role, and its superlative chorus.

It’s screened live at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. The encore screening begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12. Tickets: $22-$28.

Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St., 505-988-1234, lensic.org 

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