It is a historical play and the main character – Boris Godunov, actually existed and he is a significant figure in Russian history. He was born in 1552 in a family of a landlord, but after a marriage of Ivan the Terrible’s son and Godunov’s sister he was granted a title of Boyar. And, when the Tsar died in 1584 he became a regent for his son. For 13 of 14 years of Fjodor’s rulership it was Boris, who was ruling the state. That period was a period of better relation between Russia and Europe and also of great changes inside the country: for instance, Godunov was building new cities, my hometown among them.
While Fjodor was alive, the inherent of the throne was his younger brother, Dmitriy. He mysteriously died in 1591. Many accused Godunov of assassinating him, but after an investigation it was stated, that a young man died because of an epilepsy attack. And in 1598 after a death of Fjodor Boris Godunov was crowned as a rightful ruler.
After several years the rumor went through the country: Dmitriy is alive and he is going to claim the throne. It is generally believed that the real Dmitriy died in Uglich, and that this Dmitriy's name was actually Grigoriy Otrepyev, although this is far from certain. Anyway, the impostor is known as False Dmitriy the First and he was in fact quite successful.
Boris was sick for a long time, and after a dinner, when all his doctors were assured he was fine because of his good appetite, he suddenly felt bad, went to his privy chamber and died in the age of 53.
Soon after his death the revolt was made by False Dmitriy and Godunov’s son and wife were killed by Dmitriy’s allies. False Dmitriy ruled Russia for one year after these events.
This is what I know about the man I am going to watch an opera about. I know, thought, the play, written by Pushkin differs from the historical context. How much, I am going to find out and let you know on the 20th of September.