Today, on December 20, the opera “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin on our stage - a landmark performance for the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Theatre! This opera opened the first season of the Krasnoyarsk Opera 39 years ago, it was the very first performance in the history of our theatre.
That day nearly 40 years ago the roles of the opera were sung by Nina Apneyfert (Yaroslavna), Valeri Alekseyev (Prince Igor), Boris Ageyev (Galitsky), Valeri Odolenko (Vladimir Igorevich), Lyudmila Yanitskaya (Konchakovna), German Kuklin (Konchak), Vera Izotova (Polovtsian maiden), Alexander Litvinov (Yeroshka), Anatoliy Lyisenko (Ovlur), Vladimir Pavlov (Skula). The years have passed, but this work is still very popular with our spectators and it’s a kind of a hallmark of our theatre.
Still, for the first time the opera was performed long before the official opening of the theatre, namely on August 12, 1978 - the day Krasnoyarsk turned 350 years old. It was shown to those who worked on the construction of the Krasnoyarsk Opera building.
“Prinсe Igor” depicts the events described in the Russian anonymous ancient epic poem “The Tale of Igor's Campaign”. It is about love and zest for life, about duty and daredevilry. The opera comprises fabulous arias, epic scenes with the choir and amazingly beautiful ballet dances. It’s a glowing description of the important Russian historical events.
There’s a story behind the opera. Borodin had been working on the opera for about 20 years. He himself went to town of Putyvl, where the opera is set in, to get into the spirit of the ancient times. He studied ancient records and researches about cuman people. Maestro visited old monasteries and archives where he read ancient manuscripts that brought him into the mysterious world of the old tales and stories. Alas, Borodin hadn’t finished the opera. Alexander Glazunov brought the work of his teacher to completion.
The world première was given in St. Petersburg in 1890 at the Mariinsky Theatre, it resulted in an enormous success among the audience and was shown everywhere throughout the world.
“Prince Igor” in Krasnoyarsk is a grand-scale performance with impressive decorations. A large choir, opera soloists and a great deal of ballet dancers take part in it. The decorations and costumes are extremely eye-catching. Ancient military outfit and expensive furs and hats for the characters belonging to the noble class - more than 400 costumes were sewn for the performance.
There are many fabulous scenes in the opera, the most famous are Polovtsian Dances and the worldwide known song of cumans’ slave women “Fly away on the wings of the wind” performed by a choir.
Today the main roles will be sung by People’s Artist of Russia Vladimir Yefimov (Prince Igor), Svetlana Ratslaf-Levchuk (Yaroslavna), Nikolai Mishenev (Galitsky), Sergei Osovin (Vladimir Igorevich), Daria Ryabinko (Konchakovna). The orchestra will be conducted by Honoured Artist of Russia Alexander Kosinskiy, a choirmaster is Dmitri Khodosh.