Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: Prince Igor 

Radio Broadcast and Live in HD Transmission of Saturday, March 1, 12 P.M.

Broadcast Prince Igor hdl 214
An early technical-rehearsal photo of settings designed by Dmitri Tcherniakov for his new production of Prince Igor at the Met
© Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera 2014
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and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Prince Igor

Music by Alexander Borodin
Libretto by the composer after a scenario by Vladimir Stasov, 
based on the epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign 
THE CAST (in order of vocal appearance) 
Prince Igor Svyatoslavich bass-baritone, ILDAR ABDRAZAKOV
Prince Galitsky bass, MIKHAIL PETRENKO
Vladimir Igorevich tenor, SERGEY SEMISHKUR
Skula bass, VLADIMIR OGNOVENKO
Yeroshka tenor, ANDREY POPOV
Yaroslavna soprano, OKSANA DYKA
Polovtsian Maiden sop., KIRI DEONARINE
Konchakovna mezzo, ANITA RACHVELISHVILI
Ovlur tenor, MIKHAIL VEKUA
Khan Konchak bass, ŠTEFAN KOCÁN
Yaroslavna's Nurse mezzo, BARBARA DEVER

Conducted by GIANANDREA NOSEDA

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

Production: Dmitri Tcherniakov
Set designer: Dmitri Tcherniakov
Costume designer: Elena Zaitseva
Lighting designer: Gleb Filshtinsky
Choreographer: Itzik Galili
Associate choreographer: Elisabeth Gibiat
Musical preparation: Yelena Kurdina,
    J. David Jackson, Lydia Brown,
    Vlad Iftinka, Irina Soboleva,
    Natalia Katyukova
Assistant stage directors: Eric Einhorn,
    Yefim Maizel, Peter McClintock,
    Thorsten Cölle
Stage band conductor: Jeffrey Goldberg
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Fight director: Nicolas Sandys
Prompter: Yelena Kurdina

Production a gift of The Annenberg
    Foundation, and The Gilbert S. Kahn & 
    John J. Noffo Kahn Foundation
Prince Igor is a coproduction of
    the Metropolitan Opera and
    De Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam

THE SCENES  Timings (ET)
PROLOGUEA square in Putivl 12:00–
ACT IThe Polovtsian encampment–1:19
ACT II 1:48–2:54
    Sc. 1A room in Yaroslavna's palace 
    Sc. 2The court of Prince Galitsky 
    Sc. 3A room in Yaroslavna's palace 
ACT IIIThe destroyed city of Putivl3:23–4:28

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel,
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park

Directed for Live Cinema by:
    Gary Halvorson
    HD host: Eric Owens

For more information on the broadcasts,
    please visit www.operainfo.org.

Send quiz questions to:
    Metropolitan Opera Quiz
    Metropolitan Opera
    30 Lincoln Center
    New York, NY 10023
    or e-mail metquiz@metopera.org.

This performance is also being
    broadcast live on Metropolitan
    Opera Radio on SiriusXM channel 74.

This performance will be transmitted live, in high definition and surround sound,
into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series, and will be shared with
students in more than 150 U.S. schools as part of the Met's HD Live in Schools program.
For information on tickets, visit www.metopera.org/hdlive.

THE STORY  

PROLOGUE. A square in Putivl, Russia. Prince Igor is preparing to lead an army against the Polovtsians. The people ask for God's blessing, but when the sky suddenly darkens in a solar eclipse, they are worried by the bad omen and urge Igor to abandon his campaign. Igor's wife, Yaroslavna, also begs him not to go to war, but he reassures her, leaving her and the command of the city in the keeping of Prince Galitsky, Yaroslavna's brother.

ACT I. The Russians have been defeated, and Igor and his son, Vladimir, are being held prisoner in the Polovtsian camp by their leader, Khan Konchak. The Khan's daughter, Konchakovna, has fallen in love with Vladimir and anxiously awaits their next meeting. Vladimir appears, and both declare their love. They are interrupted by the arrival of Igor, who is tormented by the Russian defeat and longingly thinks of his wife. Ovlur, a Polovtsian who has been baptized and is a friend of the Russians, approaches Igor and offers to help him escape. Igor at first rejects the idea as dishonorable but then ponders it. Konchak enters and assures Igor that he has been treating him as a guest, not a prisoner. He offers to grant him freedom if Igor will promise never to take up arms against the Polovtsians again. Igor explains that he cannot agree to this. Impressed with Igor's pride, Konchak orders his slave girls to entertain his guest.

Broadcast Prince Igor hdl 2 214
An early technical-rehearsal photo of settings designed by Dmitri Tcherniakov for his new production of Prince Igor at the Met
© Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera 2014

ACT II. Yaroslavna, who has been suffering from bad dreams, is waiting for news of her husband and stepson. Some of her maidens enter and complain about Galitsky, who has abducted one of their number. When Galitsky unexpectedly appears, he tries to laugh off his sister's accusations but then agrees to give up the girl.

Galitsky's men, among them the officers Skula and Yeroshka, sing the Prince's praises. Galitsky celebrates his hedonistic philosophy and mocks Yaroslavna's disapproval of his life. A group of maidens rushes in to protest the abduction, but the crowd laughs at them, and Galitsky sends them away. The men resume their praises of the Prince, insisting that he, not Igor, should lead them.

A party of boyars arrives at Yaroslavna's apartment with news of Igor's defeat and imprisonment. Galitsky and his men use the confusion to hatch a revolt, urging the boyars to elect a new Prince. Alarm bells sound, announcing that the Polovtsians are already attacking the city. The people are resolved to defend their freedom.

Broadcast Igor lg 214
Ildar Abdrazakov as Prince Igor
© Micaela Rossato/Metropolitan Opera 2014

ACT III. Putivl has fallen. Yaroslavna, who has given up hope that Igor will return, laments the loss of her husband, while peasants mourn for their devastated country. Skula and Yeroshka mock the imprisoned Igor, unaware of his escape from the Polovtsian camp. When they notice him approaching from afar, they decide to save their skins by announcing his arrival to the people and declaring their loyalty. Yaroslavna and Igor are reunited. Wracked by guilt, the Prince laments that he didn't die in battle like his predecessors. The people greet Igor on his return. 

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR  

Alexander Borodin (1833–1887) was a member of "The Five," the circle of St. Petersburg composers also known as "The Mighty Handful" who were dedicated to a creating a new, authentic style of Russian music. Borodin studied composition under Mily Balakirev (1837–1910), the founder of "The Five"; another member of the group, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908), was the principal architect of the first performing edition of Prince Igor, completed after Borodin's sudden death at the age of fifty-three. Despite his talent and the enthusiasm of his peers, Borodin never regarded music as his principal career: he was best known during his lifetime as a surgeon and chemist, and was a professor of chemistry at the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy. There are few available books in English devoted solely to Borodin's music, although Gerald Abraham's 1927 study, Borodin: The Composer and his Music (Reeves), is available from several online sources. Perhaps more useful are the sections on Borodin in The New Grove Russian Masters (Norton), which looks at the composer and his work alongside the accomplishments of Glinka, Balakirev, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.

Gergiev's Mariinsky recording of Prince Igor from 1993 (Phillips) is the best option on CD; the cast is led by two of the brightest stars in the group of singers Gergiev brought to international attention: Olga Borodina (Konchakovna) and Galina Gorchakova (Yaroslavna). Borodina and Gorchakova are also on hand in the Mariinsky's 1993 video, which fields a different cast of male principals than the CD recording and is currently the best available choice on DVD.

The 1951 Melodiya recording of Prince Igor, with the forces of the Bolshoi led in vigorous style by Alexander Melik-Pashayev, is highly theatrical if slightly coarse. In a cast that features some of the most celebrated Russian singers of the immediate post-World War II era — Andrei Ivanov as Igor, Vera Borisenko as Konchakovna, Evgenia Smolenskaya as Yaroslavna and Sergei Lemeshev as Vladimir — the standouts are Mark Reizen (Konchak) and Alexander Stepanovich Pirogov (Galitsky), two of the Bolshoi's greatest basses. Act III, which is substantially the work of Glazunov, is omitted, as was then customary. The 1966 EMI recording, led Jerzy Semkow, is heavily cut, but is worth a listen because of the brilliant Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff, who sings two roles — Khan Konchak and Galitsky — superbly. spacer

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Current Issue: August 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 2