Synopsis by Mike Cummings
Russian composer Alexandre Borodin (1833-1887) spent nearly two decades working intermittently on the music and libretto of Prince Igor, but he left the opera unfinished at his death. Acquaintances Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov completed it, and the opera debuted in St. Petersburg in 1890. Through rousing patriotic music flavored with Slavic and Oriental motifs, the folk opera centers on episodes in the life of Prince Igor Svyatoslavich (1150-1202), a Ukrainian ruler who wages war against Tartar invaders from the east known as the Polovtsy. After Igor (Boris Khmelnitsky) and his wife, Princess Yaroslavna (Nelly Pshennaya), sing duets and bid farewell, Igor and his son, Vladimir (Boris Tokarev), lead their army against the Polovtsy. Although Igor and his soldiers fight valiantly, the Polovtsy win the war and capture Igor and his son. The Tartar leader, Khan (Yevgeny Nesterenko), treats Igor and Vladimir with respect, sings a salute to Igor, and regales him when night falls with lively dancing (the "Polovtsian Dances," performed by the Kirov Ballet). Meanwhile, Vladimir falls in love with Khan's daughter. At home in the Ukraine, a plot to usurp Igor's throne unfolds. Then, with the help of a sympathizer, Igor and Vladimir escape, but the boy is recaptured. After Igor returns and reunites with Yaroslavna, his subjects rejoice, the plot against him defuses, and he prepares to march off again.
army, political-unrest, prince, Russian [nationality], soldier, son, war