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Bolshoi News>2013>The Bolshoi theatre premieres Yuri Lyubimov’s new take on a Russian classic opera, Prince Igor.

08 June 2013- 16 June 2013

The Bolshoi theatre premieres Yuri Lyubimov’s new take on a Russian classic opera, Prince Igor.

Prince Igor is rightly considered to be one of the main Russian operas. This large-scale, multi-level fresco combines ‘high-style’ epic narrative and folk comedy, juxtaposes the chant of the Russian heroic poem and the boisterously ‘frenetic’ musical world of the East. Borodin himself explains his aesthetic position as follows: “It seems to me that in opera, as in sets, there is no place for small forms, trivial detail: everything should be written in bold strokes, clearly, vividly and, in so far as possible, convenient to perform by both voice and orchestra”.

Borodin spent many years writing Prince Igor, he would set it aside for long periods of time, and then again return to it. He never managed to finish it. Following his sudden death, the opera was completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov.

The première which took place at the Mariinsky Theatre on 23 October 1890 was a huge success. Its first Bolshoi Theatre performance was on 19 January 1898. In 1899, it was produced for the first time abroad — in Prague, and then — in Paris, New York, Milan. Igor took the world’s leading opera houses by storm.

Prince Igor
 was to become one of the Bolshoi Theatre’s ‘designer label’ titles, for many years it formed the basis of the Russian section of the Theatre’s operatic repertoire. It was given seven productions and never disappeared for long from the billboards. There have been over one thousand performances of Prince Igor at the Bolshoi.

Today Prince Igor returns to the Bolshoi after a record-breaking absence of eleven years. Yuri Lyubimov, the maître of Russian theatre directors, presents us with his view of the opera. Lyubimov, the legendary founder of the Taganka Theatre is famous throughout the world as an opera producer, though this side of his work has, until now, been overlooked in Russia. He has over twenty opera productions at leading opera houses to his name: he has worked for La Scala, Paris National Opéra, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Bavarian Staatsoper, Naples’ Teatro San Carlo, Chicago’s Lyric Opera, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival.

Submitted on 08 June 2013, Saturday

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