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Prince Igor

opera in three acts with a prologue
music by Alexander Borodin

21 October, Sat


Libretto by Alexander Borodin after the on the Russian epos of the 12th century The Tale of Igors Raid
Conductor: Evgeny Volynsky
Stage Designer: Igor Grinevich
Lighting Designer: Elena Drevalyova
Principal Chorus Master: Vyacheslav Podyelsky
Plastique: Irina Lyakhovskaya
Choreography of the Polovtsian Dances: Mikhail Fokine

Golden Mask
Best Opera Production
Best Conductor (Yevgeny Volynsky)
Best Female Opera Role (Elena Popovskaya for the role of Yaroslavna)
Best Male Opera Role (Roman Burdenko for the role of Prince Igor)

3 hours 40 minutes

two intermissions

performed in Russian

Première of the production: 29 May 2009

The production was shown on tour to Bangkok (Thailand, 2010), Seoul (Korea, 2010)

The production received a diploma of the Golden Mask National Theatre Festival in 2010

Epic opera by Alexander Borodin is created after masterpiece of ancient Russian literature — “The song of Prince Igor”. Truly “Herculean” scope of the production gives audience a unique opportunity to experience greatness and beauty of Russian music’s wonderful example.


The old city of Putivl, 1185
Citizens got together on the square in front of the cathedral. They have come to wish luck to the warriors of Prince Igor’s troops, who are going against the Polovtsians. The people and the boyars praise Prince Igor, his son Vladimir, the princes and warriors. “Wash off the insult of Russia with the enemies’ blood... Defeat the enemies”, the citizens address him.
The warriors are ready to go, but suddenly a solar eclipse begins. This is an ill omen. The people ask Igor to put off the campaign. But he’s adamant: “What are we to be afraid of? Where are going to defend the good things: our faith, our Motherland, Rus’...” The troops are about to set off. Only two warriors, gudok-players Skula and Yeroshka, leave the army unnoticed.
Prince Igor bids farewell to his wife Yaroslavna. She forebodes a disaster and implores her husband to stay at home. But Prince Igor is unbending.
Prince Vladimir Galitsky, Yaroslavna’s brother, stays in Putivl as the deputy of Prince Igor. Igor asks him to protect the Princess, to care about her.

Act I

Scene 1

The servants have gone wild; led by Skula and Yeroshka, they praise Prince Galitsky. He has surrounded himself with the loyal people, as reckless as he is, and is dreaming of becoming the Prince of Putivl with their help. Agitated maidens run into the courtyard. They beg Prince Galitsky to liberate their girlfriend who was taken by warriors into a chamber for amusement. But the prince drives the maidens. The servants conceive a plot: “We will dethrone Igor and put Vladimir on the throne. What are we to afraid of?”

Scene 2

A chamber in Yaroslavna’s terem. She is alone. There are no news about Prince Igor and his troops. The sudden arrival of the girls whom Prince Galitsky has driven out from the court distracts Yaroslavna from her sad thoughts. She finds out about the Prince’s thuggish behavior. “Protect us, defend us, — the girls implore. Life is impossible under his rule.”
Galitsky rushes into the chamber and Yaroslavna in anger drives him away.
The boyars come to the terem to tell Yaroslavna that Igor’s troops have been defeated; the Prince himself is wounded and imprisoned together with his son, and the Khan’s army destroys everything on their way to Putivl.

Act II

Scene 3

Night is falling. The Polovtsian maidens are trying to amuse Konchakovna, the daughter of Khan Konchak, with songs and dances. She is waiting for the date with the young Prince Vladimir, the son of Igor. At last, the loving couple meet. But on hearing his father’s footsteps, Vladimir leaves.
It’s hard to outlive the disgrace of defeat and imprisonment. Igor yearns for freedom — he could gather the troops and attack the Polovtsian again. His thoughts about Motherland give way to thoughts about his beloved.
Suddenly Ovlur, a baptized Polovtsian, comes to him. He offers Igor his help to escape from captivity. The Polovtsian Khan Konchak arrives. He would like to have Igor as an ally. He even promises to free him if Igor agrees never to raise his sword against the Polovtsians again. “It’s no good for a prince to lie, — Igor says. — Just set me free, I’ll gather the troops and will attack you again.” The pride and valour of the Russian prince delight Khan Konchak. The Polovtsian encampment celebrate the victory.


Scene 4

Putivl is burnt. Yaroslavna is crying. Addressing the wind, the sun and the River Dnepr, she awaits their answer: where is Igor? Villagers arrive. Their mournful song is a lament about the destruction and scorching of the land.
Suddenly Yaroslavna notices two horsemen. They are coming closer. She recognizes Igor in one of the horsemen: he is ready to gather the troops and attack the enemies again. Skula and Yeroshka are singing a song about Igor’s unsuccessful campaign, but seeing the Prince they decide to inform the people about Igor’s return. They are trying to deserve forgiveness. The gathered people praise the return of the Prince.