Recently, I posted an article about opera. In that article I shared some of my very limited knowledge of the subject and comment on some of the great live opera that I’ve had the pleasure to experience. This past Saturday, I had an opportunity to listen to a few segments of the Metropolitan Opera‘s live radio broadcast of the Russian opera, Prince Igor, by Alexander Borodin.
Unfortunately, I had a number of tasks I was trying to complete, so I was not able to listen to the opera in its entirety. I am not really familiar with Russian opera, but this was a grand production of over 4 hours. The buzz among opera critics is that this dramatic updated production by Dmitri Tcherniakov is very different from the last time the Metropolitan Opera presented the work in 1917. Anthony Tommasini at the New York Times, music review says, the “wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical…with an impressive cast”. Two other reviews of this production; here and here.
The following title announces to the audience; “To unleash a war is the surest way to escape from one’s self”.
Four acts follow the prelude. It also included two choral groups in addition to the full orchestra. Follow this link and listen to some of the highlights offered by Naxos. Perhaps the most famous piece from this extraordinary opera is from ACT II — Polovtsian Dances, Fly Away on the Wings of the Wind (Кто летит на крыльях ветра). the chorus provides and ethereal quality to the music and if you close your eyes you may just fly away too!
It is interesting to note that Borodin, whose profession was actually in the field of chemistry, had worked on this opera for many years and died before completing the score. His close associates, Alexander Glazunov and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov used Borodin’s notes to complete the work posthumously.
“To unleash a war is the surest way to escape from one’s self”.
Interesting….I wish I had been able to listen to the entire production.
Don’t miss; Coming up on April 5th, The Metropolitan Opera will broadcast the classic, La boheme, by the great master Giacomo Puccini. — Tune in here to listen to the performance on the first Saturday in April.