Passion Sweeps the Stage in the Met's Prince Igor
"Prince Igor" is a magnificent spectacle of love and abandonment,
abduction and rescue, war and redemption. With luxurious sets and costumes, compelling drama and familiar, sweeping melodies,
"Prince Igor" is one of the grandest of all grand operas, with a haunting score and a powerful storyline that still resonates
with contemporary audiences today.
The opening scene takes place in a square in Putivl, Russia. As Prince
Igor prepares to lead his army against the enemy Polovtsians, the townspeople pray for victory. Suddenly, they're overwhelmed
by a solar eclipse. Igor's wife, Yaroslavna, takes it as a bad omen and begs him not to go, but he comforts her and takes
his troops away. Soon afterward, the Russians are defeated, and Prince Igor and his son Vladimir are prisoners. The leader
of the Polovtsians, Khan Konchak, has a daughter, Konchakovna, who begins a passionate love affair with Vladimir.
the meantime, Igor's wife, Yaroslavna, is home worrying about her husband when she is told that her rogue brother, Galitsky,
has kidnapped one of her servant girls. She begs him to give the girl up, and Galitsky agrees, but then reneges on his agreement.
He's also ambitious; he wants to take the throne away from Prince Igor, and when he hears of his brother-in law's defeat,
he starts a revolt to take over himself.
Can Igor escape from prison? Will the Polovtsians continue to win? Is Galitsky
successful in his plot to overthrow the kingdom? As the ensuing drama reaches its climax, the audience discovers the fate
of Igor and his wife, as well as the fate of the Russian throne.
The challenging leading role of Prince
Igor is played by renowned Russian bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov, who made his Met debut in "Don Giovanni" in 2004. Since
then, he has appeared there regularly in productions of Verdi's "Attila" and Donizetti's "Anna Bolena." He won a Grammy in
2011 for his performance of the Verdi "Requiem" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The conductor is Gianandrea Noseda, who
is best-known for his past work as principal conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2001 to 2011. He is now a regular conductor
with the Met.
"Prince Igor" was written by Russian composer Alexander Borodin, who based the
libretto on an ages-old Slavic epic "The Lay of Igor's Ghost." Unfortunately, Borodin never lived to finish the score, and
when he died in 1887, the final scenes and editing were completed by his friends and fellow composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
and Alexander Glazunov.
The producer of "Prince Igor" is famed Russian theater director Dmitri Tcherniakov,
who is perhaps best-known for his innovative opera and theater stagings in Moscow, Milan and other European capitals. With
"Prince Igor," Tcherniakov makes his Metropolitan Opera debut.
"Prince Igor" had its world premiere in
St Petersburg, Russia in 1890. The U.S. premiere took place at the Metropolitan Opera in 1915, where it was performed in Italian,
not Russian. Contemporary audiences may find much of the music familiar, because the Broadway musical and movie "Kismet" featured
songs (such as "Stranger in Paradise") that relied heavily on the "Polovtsian Dances" heard in the opera.
fact: Composer Alexander Borodin was also the founder of a school of medicine for women and taught courses there in his spare
"Prince Igor" continues its run throughout the season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
If you're interested in Prince Igor New York tickets, you'll want to check online to find out about specific dates, performance
times and available seats.