Music: Original Boris

Modeste Petrovich Moussorgsky's happiest moment came on March 16, 1881, when, in a St. Petersburg hospital, surrounded by strangers, Fate permitted him to die. For 46 years he had been beaten by life. His first love, and his last and real love had died. He had lost his devoted mother. He had a permanent quarrel with his brother. He had had financial collapse, humiliating work as a government clerk at small pay in the department of woods and forests—worst of all, lack of recognition for his music. Final blow: his life-child, the opera Boris...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!