Borodin’s operatic masterpiece Prince Igor, which had its first Met performances since 1917 earlier this year, will be broadcast on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, June 22, 2014, at 12 noon on PBS (check local listings). (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)
The acclaimed new production by director Dmitri Tcherniakov, in his Met debut, stars Ildar Abdrazakov as the heroic title character, a 12th-century ruler who defended Russia against invading Polovtsian forces. Gianandrea Noseda, a specialist in Russian music, conducts a new edition of the opera — left unfinished by Borodin at the time of his death in 1887 — which has been specially created for this Met production.
The cast also includes Ukrainian soprano Oksana Dyka in her Met debut as Igor’s wife, Yaroslavna; Anita Rachvelishvili as the fiery Polovtsian princess Konchakovna; Russian tenor Sergey Semishkur in his Met debut as Igor’s son, Vladimir Igorevich; Mikhail Petrenko as Yaroslavna’s brother, Prince Galitsky; and Štefan Kocán as Khan Konchak, leader of the Polovtsian forces.
Prince Igor was performed at the Met just 10 times between 1915 and 1917, always in an Italian translation. The opera then fell out of the company’s repertory, though it continues to be performed regularly elsewhere, particularly in Russia, where it is part of the standard operatic repertory. In 1953, Robert Wright and George Forrest adapted parts of the score, as well as other Borodin compositions, into the Broadway musical Kismet, best-known for the standard “Stranger in Paradise” which is set to the music of one of Prince Igor’s Polovtsian Dances.
For the Met production, Noseda and Tcherniakov have constructed a new edition of the opera using recent research that incorporates all the known music and orchestration by Borodin. This edition also makes significant changes to the order of scenes in the opera and includes three pieces of newly orchestrated material by Pavel Smelkov, the Russian composer and conductor.
The New York Times called the Met’s Prince Igor “(a) revelatory production… [Tcherniakov’s] wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical,” praising the “impressive cast” and the “Met chorus…at its glorious best.” And New York Magazine observed that “[As the country] welcomed the world to the Winter Games, the Metropolitan Opera mounted its own imperial Russian spectacular… [with a score that] bubbles with irresistible tunes and gaudy contrasts, with the exotic Polovtsians moving in sinuous oriental dances while Russians answer with thick-soled marches and honest folk songs.”
Bass-baritone Eric Owens hosts the broadcast.
Prince Igor was originally seen live in movie theaters on March 1, 2014, as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Now in its fifth decade, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Additional funding provided by Mercedes T. Bass Charitable Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.