We took in the Met's HD of Borodin's Prince Igor today. It was a first for both of us and I must say I liked it although I'd probably have to see it a couple more times really to get my mind around it. Meanwhile, a few takeaways:
- They say of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov that the real hero is the chorus. Maybe, but much truer here: I can't think of any other opera in which the chorus exercises quite so much narrative heft.
- Can you name any other opera which fixes so much compassion on the plight of a nameless peasant girl,married off as a sexual convenience and then discarded? Or presents the marauder and his friends so unambiguously as a gang of loutish frat rats?
- Is there any other opera--Russian or otherwise--that gives God so slender a role in determining the outcome of military conflict?
- As a reconstruction of the only opera by an important Russian composer, this new production would seem to be an important Russian cultural event. Yet it seems to have been hatched in Turin and launched and now we see it launched in New York City. Why isn't it at the Mariinsky, and where is Gergeiv? Netrebko? Come to think of it, where is Putin?
Fun fact: It appears that Putivi, locus of this Russian masterpiece, is in the Ukraine.