BORODIN Prince Igor. Sofia National Opera Chorus / Lyubomir Karoleev, Hristo Kazandjiev, Sofia Festival Orchestra / Emil Tchakarov. Brilliant Classics 3cds

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Borodin Prince Igor Sofia Festival Emil Tchakarov Brilliant Classics 3Cds

Borodin

Prince Igor

CD1

  • 1 Overture 10’17
  • 2 Prologue 21’20

Act 1

  • 3 Scene 1: At Vladimir Galitsky’s Court 18’35
  • 4 Scene 2: Arioso of Yaroslavna 9’53
  • 5 Yaroslavna with the Girls 4’59
  • 6 Yaroslavna and Galitsky 8’05

Total time 73’31

CD2

  • 1 Finale of Act 1 9’29

Act 2

  • 2 Choir of the Polovtsian Maidens 6’07
  • 3 Dance of the Polovtsian Maidens 2’16
  • 4 Cavatina of Konchakovna 6’39
  • 5 Scene with Choir 3’40
  • 6 Recitative and Cavatina of Vladimir Igoryevich 5’25
  • 7 Duet of Igoryevich and Konchakovna 6’40
  • 8 Aria of Prince Igor 7’03
  • 9 Prince Igor and Ovlur 4’01
  • 10 Aria of Konchak 6’30
  • 11 Recitative of Prince Igor 3’26
  • 12 Polovtsian dance with Choir 11’53

Total time 73’33

CD3

Act 3

  • 1 Polovtsian March 5’52
  • 2 Song of Konchak 3’11
  • 3 Recitative of Konchak and Choir of the Khans 4’50
  • 4 Choir and Dance of the Guards 3’46
  • 5 Recitative of Ovlur and Prince Igor 1’59
  • 6 Trio (Konchakovna, Igoryevich and Prince Igor) 4’13
  • 7 Finale 4’48

Act 4

  • 8 Aria of Yaroslavna 10’13
  • 9 Song of the Peasants 3’05
  • 10 Recitative of Yaroslavna and Duet with Igor 7’48
  • 11 Song of the Gudok‐players and Choir 9’34
  • 12 Choral Finale 3’49

Total time 63’29

Boris Martinovich - Igor Svytoslavich
Stefka Evstatieva - Yaroslavna
Kaludi Kaludov - Vladimir Igoryevich
Nicola Ghiuselev - Vladimir Yaroslavich
Nicolai Ghiaurov - Khan Konchak
Alexandrina Milcheva - Konchakovna
Mincho Popov - Ovlur
Stoil Georgiev - Skula
Angel Petkov - Yeroshka
Elena Stoyanova - Yaroslavna’s Nurse/Polovstian Maiden
Sofia National Opera Chorus / Lyubomir Karoleev, Hristo Kazandjiev chorus masters
Sofia Festival Orchestra / Emil Tchakarov

The composition of Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor – based on the Song of Igor, a 12th century Russian epic – got off to a slow start, with the composer’s career as an organic chemist preventing him from making much progress. Eventually his friends tricked him into composing certain parts of the work by inserting these numbers into a concert programme; later still, another friend, the celebrated Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, suggested making the opera a joint venture, putting himself at Borodin’s disposal as a musical secretary as well as orchestrating and composing several extracts. Yet the opera remained incomplete at Borodin’s death in 1887, and it was left to Rimsky-Korsakov and the young Alexander Glazunov to construct and finalise the work, premiering it in St Petersburg in 1890 to rave reviews.

Central to the opera is the way in which the Russians are distinguished from the Polovtsians through melodic characterisation: while Borodin uses features of Russian folk music to represent his compatriots, chromaticism, melismas and appoggiaturas – among other techniques – represent their ‘heathen’ opponents. These methods were already established ways of portraying Orientalism in Russian music, with the opera intended, in part, to be an homage to Mikhail Glinka, ‘the father of Russian music’.

The Sofia National Opera Chorus has garnered acclaim the world over, and here it is accompanied by the Sofia Festival Orchestra, which has performed throughout Europe as well as further afield with distinguished soloists such as Nicolai Gedda and Mirella Freni, to name but a few. The recording also boasts a wealth of celebrated vocalists, including Boris Martinovich and Stefka Evstatieva.

Brilliant Classics 3cds 94608

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