- Actors: Ildar Abdrazakov, Mikhail Petrenko, Sergey Semishkur, Vladimir Ognovenko, Andrey Popov
- Directors: Gianandrea Noseda
- Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Number of discs: 2
- Rated: Not RatedNR
- Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
- DVD Release Date: September 16, 2014
- Run Time: 272 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00M2A9F2U
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,106 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This opera is a problem child, like DON CARLOS, like LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, and closer to home like BORIS GODUNOV. Anyone presenting it must make decisions as to which music will be performed and which will not. Borodin left no performable edition all his own. Tcherniakov and Maestro Gianandrea Noseda opted for an edition free of the interventions of Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov (no overture, no Act III), and their edition places the Polovtsian act directly after the prologue, and changes the order of scenes in the subsequent act (the traditional Act I). This rejiggering in the middle act, with Yaroslavna, Galitsky, and the episode of the abducted maiden, is conspicuous -- even someone coming new to the opera will be able to sense from the words that some liberties have been taken with the order of events. One of Tcherniakov's stated goals was to keep Igor himself more at the forefront of the opera, to keep him from getting lost for long periods as in traditional stagings. So, here, his absence is concentrated in the middle.
I felt acutely, as I had when I heard the Met's BORIS GODUNOV in 2010, that so much of the world's best vocal talent is coming from Slavic regions now, and it is wonderful that in these ensemble operas, one can hear every role filled with distinction. Everyone sang very well. Of the leads, Mikhail Petrenko (the vile Galitsky) most achieved what I might call freedom on the stage. In him, there was abandon, a lack of visible caution. I never felt I was watching Petrenko carefully hitting his marks, but holding back so that you always see the modern person in the costume. He became this lecherous creep from the ground up. I wanted his on-stage sister, Oksana Dyka (Yaroslavna, Igor's long-suffering wife), to be, in her own way, as strong opposite him; I felt their scene called for that, and this would have given it the voltage of a great operatic confrontation, because Tcherniakov's direction was excellent for these two. But throughout the opera, although there were musicianship and feeling in Dyka's work, it was as though I were watching the character from a distance. Everything was there, but muted, glazed. She may just not be a performer of blazing temperament. One does warm to her.
Unlike Dyka, who was making her Met debut, Ildar Abdrazakov has taken the measure of the house in many prior productions. He sang with great beauty of tone and line, suggesting a future Boris, but he too lacks the last degree of imagination that would have gotten this assumption into the stratosphere. It seems churlish when singers such as Dyka and Abdrazakov give so much to ask for more, but this is a demanding opera for everyone. The "B" couple, tenor Sergey Semishkur (Vladimir Igorevich, Igor's son) and Met mezzo-in-ascent Anita Rachvelishvili (Konchakovna, the daughter of Igor's rival, who becomes Vladimir's lover) made the most of their chances; they helped to make the Polovtsian act an early highlight. Her sound is more seductive than his, but both are very impassioned. Stefan Kocan is a light-voiced but otherwise blameless Khan, and he too benefits from fine direction -- the interaction with Igor is intelligently worked out and well realized.
There is a surreal, hallucinatory quality to many of the scenes involving Igor, and I liked that I was kept guessing, trying to figure out what was reality, fantasy, displacement. I found the use of projected black-and-white films (covering, for example, the battle and defeat of Igor) effectively cinematic, although I wondered about the practicality. (In some future revival, I suppose there must be a new reel if a different bass? And what if someone gets sick at the last minute? And how much of a pain is it to make the wounds and debris in the black-and-white films perfectly match what is on the singer's face on stage?) The hand-sewn poppy field for the Polovtsian act is already an iconic stage picture. This act also features choreography by Itzik Galili that strikes me as less than apposite. I cannot improve on one of the New York reviewers' likening of it to "Jazzercise."
As an experienced Tcherniakov watcher, I found it interesting to compare his work with an opera on the margins of the repertory, from his own country, to what he has done with Italian warhorses. A lot of his usual silliness -- playing deconstructing narrative games, covering the music with extraneous noise such as laughter, sobbing, gunfire, etc., mocking operatic conventions -- was nowhere to be seen. I could even directly compare two similar scenes. When he directed MACBETH in Paris, the scene for Macduff and the Scottish refugees bordered on send-up, with each of the choristers clutching one prized possession, and the tenor performing "A la paterna mano" in his murdered kids' toy-filled playpen. Superficially, that scene was similar to the final one of PRINCE IGOR, both in the subject (deprivation, desolation) and in the way the chorus was dressed and blocked. But where the MACBETH scene radiated smugness, the IGOR one was moving and poetic. In paired scenes, Yaroslavna and Igor hold their hands beneath water leaking from a ruptured ceiling, the water catching the light in a way that makes it seem both purifying and chilling, almost tactile. I should not spoil this in detail, but the final moments of rebuilding I found overwhelming, visionary, the kind of finish that elevates an entire production. I did not mind in the least that it had to be scored to interpolated Borodin music from another source.
This was a triumph for the Met Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Noseda and Donald Palumbo, respectively. I would call it, ultimately, a musically superb presentation with a staging that makes minor missteps but few major ones, and touches greatness a handful of times. Others are more qualified than I to discuss issues related to the performing edition. But those operas earlier mentioned that exist in multiple editions still inspire spirited arguments over what their final shape "should" be, so perhaps it is enough that people are trying to wrestle with PRINCE IGOR, to come to grips with it, and to present it in the deluxe conditions a theater such as the Met can manage.
A personal note: When I was leaving the theater after seeing this, a woman asked me, "What did you think of that?" I could tell by the way she asked that she was a bit bemused. It is difficult to be put on the spot when still turning something over in your own head, and I must have said something equivocal-to-positive/admiring. Fortunately, we can work through these things on the page, as I have tried to do here. There is so much in this world that cheapens us by the bargain into which we enter with it. We are asked to pay attention to things in popular culture and even in "high" culture that are not worth our attention at all. I like to see an investment of my limited patience repaid. I enjoy it when my mind is engaged, my expectations tantalized. Even when not everything works, I will always have time for vision, for wonder. This is the reason to keep going to the theater.
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.
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It is a wonderful production of what may very well be a not so wonderful opera.Read more
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