Musorgsky's last opera is set at the end of the seventeenth century, a turbulent period of Russian history. The title refers to the conspiracy of Prince Khovansky against the young Tsar Peter the Great, and the epic drama ends with the exile, murder and suicide of all the power groups of old Russia. When Musorgsky died in 1881, it was unfinished, and Rimsky-Korsakov completed it; Ravel and Stravinsky made another version for Diaghilev in 1911; in 1959 Shostakovich went back to the original and, in the process of reorchestrating it, he rediscovered a masterpiece. Caryl Emerson surveys the compositional and historical background and offers a provocative reading of Musorgsky's achievement. Gerard McBurney relates the non-European inspiration in the score to Musorgsky's conception of history, while Rosamund Bartlett describes the cultural impetus for his historical vision. A new translation enables us to appreciate the subtleties of this absorbing drama, which gives an apocalyptic vision of Russia.