Opera by Alexandеr Borodin
Celebrating 110 years since the birth of
maestro Atanas Margaritov
Opera in 4 acts and prologue
Libretto by Alexander Borodin (based on the Russian epic poem of the XII century "A Lay of Igor's Host" and materials from historical chronicles)
First performance: 23 October 1890, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
First performance in Bulgaria: 29 September 1922, Sofia National Opera
IgorSvyatoslavich, PrinceofNovgorod-Seversky– baritone
Yaroslavna, his second wife – soprano
VladimirIgorevich, hissonfromhisfirstmarriage– tenor
PrinceGalitsky, Yaroslavna'sbrother– bassbaritone
Konchak, Polovtsiankhan– bass
Konchakovna, hisdaughter– mezzo-soprano
Gzak, Polovtsiankhan– withoutsinging
Ovlur, ChristianPolovtsian– tenor
Eroshka, a gudok-player– tenor
Skula, a gudok-player– bass
Place and time of the action: the Russian city of Putivl and the Polovtsian camp, 1185.
Square in the ancient Russian city of Putivl. Prince Igor with his son Vladimir Igorevich and his troops are preparing for a campaign against the Polovtsian nomads, who are ravaging Russia. It's getting dark unexpectedly – it's a solar eclipse. The people see this as a bad omen. Princess Yaroslavna begs her husband to postpone the march, but Igor is adamant. He is determined to defeat the conqueror and save his homeland.
Going on a campaign, Igor leaves his wife's brother, Prince Vladimir Galitsky, as his deputy in Putivl.
With a solemn march "Glory" the people sents the prince and the army.
In the palace, surrounded by comrades and courtiers, Galitsky feasts incessantly. He dreams of becoming the prince of Putivl and removing Igor from the throne. Then he will send his sister to a convent, and he will feast all day long. Excited maidens come running. Their comrade was abducted in the prince's palace by Galitsky's men. The maidens beg the prince to release her, but he rudely expels them. The gudok-players Eroshka and Skula make fun of the kidnapped girl, ridiculed by the drunken crowd.
The party reaches its climax, when the servants roll a large barrel of wine. Skula and Eroshka begin a song with which they glorify the prince of Putivl – Vladimir Galitsky.
Gloomy thoughts torment Princess Yaroslavna. There has been no news from Igor and Vladimir for a long time. Maidens come and ask her to stand up for the girl kidnapped by Galitsky. He appears and disperses them. He behaves defiantly with his sister – he brags that he will soon take the princely throne and will subdue everyone to his will.
The boyars of the Duma bring bad news: the Russian troops have been defeated. Igor and his son are in captivity. The Polovtsian hordes are advancing towards Putivl. The bells are ringing anxiously. The flames of the fires are reflected in the windows of the palace. The cruel Asians burn everything in their path.
The Polovtsian maidens gather in the Polovtsian camp in front of the tents set up in the steppe. With songs and dances they try to entertain the daughter of Khan Konchak – Konchakovna. They bring Russian prisoners. The maidens give them food and koumiss.
The evening twilight obscures the steppe. Prince Vladimir Igorevich has fallen in love with the daughter of the Polovtsian khan and she also loves him. When the lovers move away, Igor comes along. He is worried: Russia is groaning under another's yoke, the people are suffering and there is no hope. Igor must do everything possible to save his homeland. The baptized Polovtsian Ovlur offers to help him escape from captivity, but the prince refuses.
The Polovtsian Khan Konchak appreciates the courage, bravery and honesty of the Russian prince. He promises Igor to release him from captivity, if he agrees not to take up arms against the Polovtsians in the future. Igor rejects the khan's offer. To cheer him up, Konchak arranges for him a lavish spectacle of songs and dances.
Act III (in some productions it is omitted)
Konchak's army returns with much booty from the Russian lands. Now Igor realizes that he really has to escape to drive out the invaders. When the drunken guards fall asleep, he arranges an escape with Ovlur. Konchakovna overhears their conversation. She loves Vladimir Igorevich and begs him not to leave her. This is a test for the young prince, but the sense of duty to the homeland prevails. Then Konchakovna declares alarm. However, Prince Igor manages to escape, and Vladimir is captured. The Polovtsians are preparing to kill him, Konchakovna begs her father to spare him. The khan calms them down. Everyone is infinitely surprised to learn that the young Russian prince will become his son-in-law.
Early morning in the capital Putivel. The invaders have set fire to the entire city. In front of the city walls, Princess Yaroslavna laments the misfortune that befell her and the plight of her people. She begs the wind, the sun and the river to help Igor return alive and well. Horsemen ¬ Igor and Ovlur appear. Skula and Eroshka are the first to see them.
Until recently, they have mocked the captured prince, and now they are ringing the bells to announce his return.EveryonehappilygreetsPrinceIgor.