Classical reviews: March 9

Borodin: Prince Igor. New York Metropolitan Opera. Deutsche Grammophon 2 DVDs

A splendid ''Met'' orchestra, chorus and ballet combine in this dramatic and darkly psychological version of Borodin's sprawling opera (with two intervals, it played for more than four hours before the US audience.)

Alexander Borodin was a chemist who spent years but never really finished orchestrating his wonderful melodies composed for the work.

His friend Rimsky-Korsakov volunteered some help, and after Borodin's death in 1887 Glazunov also joined in to work on a disorganised pile of sketches.

This March 2014 production by set designer Dimitri Tcherniakov and conductor Gianandrea Noseda scraps some interventions and restores discards.

The Overture is missing but the wonderful Song and frenzied Dance of the Polovtsian Maidens enchant, set in a red poppy field, using three dozen swaying and leaping dancers - all as effective as those poppies around the Tower of London.

The chorus sings from the sidelines for that scene but often fills the stage.

Excellent principal singers are Ilda Abdrazakov (Prince Igor), Oksana Dyka (Yaroslavna, his wife), Sergey Igorevich (Vladimir, his son).

Mihail Petrenka is evil brother Prince Galitsky and Stefan Kocan the Polovtsian Khan.

Prince Igor is in Russian but English subtitles help to enlighten.

Its reshuffled scene order works logically and might restore new interest in this opera.

But the use of monochrome videos and scene titles intervening as projections on the stage, to fill in some of the gaps in the plot, disappointed.

Yet this has always been a patchwork of sketches - with moments of great excitement and its catchy tunes seized upon by the musical show Kismet.

Highlight: Opera very colourful, to eyes and ears.

Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter