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Borodin: Prince Igor / Fürst Igor
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For the first time in nearly 100 years Borodins defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the MET for the first time with a Slavic, Russophone cast.
Dmitri Tcherniakovs production is a brilliant psychological journey through the mind of its conflicted hero, and his […] wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical. (New York Times)
Star bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov takes on the monumental title role and […] masterfully probed Igors guilt and regret. (Wall Street Journal)
The DVD includes a Backstage at the MET with host Eric Owens:
Introductions to Act 1, 2 and 3
Interview: Ildar Abdrazakov 2:27
Panel: Gelb, Tcherniakov; Noseda (+Lidiya) 2:26
Interview: Dyka; Petrenko (+Lidiya) 1:38
Interview: Rachvelishvili 1:25
Interview: Donald Palumbo 1:00
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impressive or memorable. However, Borodin did and his operatic treatment is one of my very favorite operas. The arias are long, luscious and memorable; the choruses are justly famous; the orchestral score is always eloquent and powerful. It is very impressive and memorable. As is this production at the MET. Gone are the medieval trappings and conventional staging. In this production. war is not seen as a glorious mission, despite the setbacks. War is destructive, inconclusive and causes paralyzing fear. After seeing large black and white footage of the shattered Russian soldiers projected on the stage, we see an immense poppy field covering the whole MET stage. Its beauty is intoxicating and the whole of Act II in the enemy camp takes place on it. For over an hour characters and chorus come and go in its layers of flowers. This is a symbolic use of the stage rather than literal, and the effect is liberating for the audience. Eventually, even the stolid Igor is won over and during the famous Polovetsian dances he becomes giddy with joy and awkwardly but sincerely dances with his enemies. Eventually, we return to the more conventional staging at Igor's court, and he returns, a man crushed by defeat and guilt over the suffering has caused. It is a powerful revision of the opera and convincingly staged. I have only superlatives for the cast; all of the voices are glorious, all of them! But I must single out the tenor who sings the role of Igor's son. He is the best Slavic tenor I have ever heard. I replayed his aria in Act II just for the sheer beauty of his singing.
This production is definitely different than the only other one I'm familiar with (1990 Royal Opera at Covent Garden on Laser Disc). The acts have been rearranged and the ending is quite a bit different. Most of the music is the same, but again, it's out of order, from both my experience and a few issues as to the sequence of events and how we got from one point to another. The poppy field doesn't exactly ring true, particularly as Prince Igor wakens in it after being in a battle (which he lost, badly), although in an extra interview, it is revealed that the entire scene is Igor's hallucination. Really?
One other complaint is that there is a scrim in front of the stage during the entire poppy field act. I know it's there to be a projection screen, and that "special effect" works pretty good, but with high definition cameras shooting through it, you might as well be watching analog TV. The scrim rolled up before the introduction, and the scene was recorded with a gorgeous image, as were the other scenes that did not have the scrim in the way of the cameras.
The famous Polovtsian dances have become a modern dance. It's nice, but having the dancers navigate around the poppies takes away some of the spectacle I've come to expect from that piece.
That being said, most of the performances were excellent, with kudos to Oksana Dyka. Lovely in both voice and face, she is quite believable as Princess Yaroslavna.
I was more familiar with the beautiful dances with Igor and Khan Konchak in the poppy field, I would have preferred the slow music danced by females and not males, They were better when dancing the strongest part.
Ivan played an important part in the story as well as his wife who never lost faith staying at his side from the moment he went to war and the possibility that he could die. He returned devastated but she helped him restore the city.
The end of the opera was very dramatic, when all the people, even those who had followed Prince Galitsky who had betrayed Igor, united to bring life and hope back to their city.
I found the acting of the cast and singing exceptional.
I wasn't familiar with this opera, so I can’t compare this one with other productions; the only thing that I can say is that I like this version.
Most recent customer reviews
It is a wonderful production of what may very well be a not so wonderful opera.Read more