Boris Godunov

Madách Kamara, Budapest, Hungary, 2003
Author: Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Directed by Balázs Kovalik

about the production

It is a new translation; we can hear new poetic text in contemporary language. (...) Boris Godunov is an ice-cold, intellectual performance, which opens new ways in Hungarian theatre. The director guides well-known actors in a manner very different from psychological schools. The focus of their acting lies in the distance between the role and the actor, and intellectual (not emotional!) approach. Live music (Shostakovich) is used in an unconventional manner both creating the atmosphere and alienating. Boris is an example of a classical text (with small dramaturgical changes) made in a new way, with good acting, and symbolic visual world.

Andrea Tompa

If I did not know the original, I would think that this was a new-born, post-modern work describing the renaissance of the society in the early 21st century with its Post-Brechtian alienation and typical resignation. (...) The dramatic dynamic images are replaced by word confrontations – the so-called theatre of words. It is not certain, if this performance of a 200-year-old work of Pushkin satisfied the original idea of the author. However, it offers a new approach and covers up the original romantic concept. (...) The sets of Csaba Antal are characterised by simple lines and geometrical shapes. He installed a cage, a freight elevator, a ramp, upper and lower floors, and a cold X-ray lighting.

Judit Csáki

The director Kovalik does not need any historicizing sets or costumes to show the principles of power in the history. He does not need to have a crowd on the stage to express the extent of manipulation. The viewers are the silent witnesses. He does not need a lot of actors to play many roles; there is enough of them to show the similarities, parallels or contrasts in the situations as well as in the characters.

Tamás Koltai



directed by Balázs Kovalik
set: Csaba Antal
costumes: Mari Benedek
assistant director: Zita Sallai
interactive video: Zsolt Bredár, Oximoris
music: Accord Quartet Péter Mező, Csongor Veér, Péter Kondor, Mátyás Ölveti
characters and cast:
Boris Godunov: László Gálffi; Shuyiskyi: Ilona Béres; Pimen, Border Guard, Priest: György Kézdy; Varatinskyi, Pushkin, Mnyisek: Tamás Végvári; Grigoriy-Usurper: Virgil Horváth; Patriarch, Border Guard, Xenia: Itala Békés; Abbot, Varlaam, Kurbskyi, Basmanov: Csaba Debreczeny; Innkeeper, Marina: Zsuzsa Járó; Misail, Poet, Ruzja, Fool: András Dömötör; Little Tsar: Áron Lénárt


Balázs Kovalik (1969)

A Hungarian opera director. He worked as an assistant director in the Hungarian State Opera, later he studied at the August Everding Bayerische Theaterakademie in Munich. After his studies he worked at the Ferencz Liszt Music Academy. In 1999 he gained the COMET Award, in 2000 he was awarded the title of Merited Artist. In 2002 he won the Kálmán Nádasdy Prize. He has produced over 20 operas so far, most of them in the National Theatre in Szeged. His international engagements were mostly in Germany (Munich, Leipzig, Schwerin...). The staging of Boris Godunov is his first drama production.

Materials available

Video of the production: no
Scripts of the production: SK, HU

If you are interested in these materials, write to