At Brilliant's prices it would be crazy to complain even if this performance were only adequate, but as it is, it is in fact in many ways very good. That’s especially true in terms of the sound and brilliance of the Sofia forces under Tchakarov's energised direction. Both chorus and orchestra are really impressive, singing and playing with huge verve and enthusiasm. The Polovtsian set pieces are very idiomatic: lilting and invigorating by turns.
By and large we have here a number of star voices, some of whom are, to put it kindly, in their later flowering but they are still artists of note. Amongst these are veteran Bulgarian basses Ghiuselev and Ghiaurov, both a bit rough, rusty and unsteady of tone but also powerful andRead more characterful as Galitsky and Khan Konchak respectively. Rather more elegant singing is provided by the smoothly authoritative bass-baritone Boris Martinovich, who also collaborated with Tchakarov in an excellent "Life for the Tsar" and as Rangoni in "Boris Godunov". It is possible to carp about some of the throatier comprimario tenor roles here and even lead tenor Kaludi Kaludov is at times a bit breathy and hoarse but he sings in very committed, convincing manner. The power of Stefka Evstatieva's soprano is occasionally compromised by the typical "Slavonic steam-whistle" effect she produces at forte but she is a compelling vocal actress. Alexandrina Milcheva is perfectly acceptable as Konchakovna and she has a serviceable lower register. That said, her voice does not have the velvety, sensual power of such as Obraztsova in what is, in my estimation, an unjustly neglected recording conducted by Mark Ermler. Some of the best singing may be heard in the stirring Third Act Trio for Konchakovna, Igorevich and Prince Igor and also the touching aria for Yaroslavna which follows that, feelingly sung by Evstatieva with some pointed use of smoothly controlled dynamics.
This does not shake my preference for the Ermler recording but I readily concede that this one is both subtler and much more affordable than that red-blooded version. It has no libretto, only an excessively condensed synopsis.
Prince Igorby Alexander Borodin Performer:
Kaludi Kaludov (Tenor),
Boris Martinovich (Baritone),
Nicolai Ghiuselev (Bass),
Nicolai Ghiaurov (Bass),
Alexandrina Milcheva (Mezzo Soprano),
Stoil Georgiev (Bass),
Mincho Popov (Tenor),
Angel Petkov (Tenor),
Elena Stoyanova (Soprano),
Stefka Evstatieva (Soprano)
Sofia National Opera Chorus,
Sofia Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1869-1887; Russia Date of Recording: 07/1987 Venue: National Palace of Culture, Sofia Length: 209 Minutes 50 Secs. Language: Russian
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
A POWERFUL OPERA......April 3, 2014By tony l. (east haven, CT)See All My Reviews"THIS OPERA IS A MUST FOR ANYONE WHO LOVES RUSSIAN OPERA,I SAW THIS OPERA AT THE MET A FEW WEEKS AGO..I DID NOT HAVE ACOPY IN MY COLLECTION..THIS RECORDING IS OUTSTANDING AND VERY POWERFUL RECORDING.THE CAST IS GREAT..BORODIN'S MUSIC IS POWERFUL..FOR THOSES WHO WANT SOMETHING NEW,THIS IS THE RECORDING TO BUY....."Report Abuse
Best all round IgorMay 29, 2013By J. Tatnall (West Grove, PA)See All My Reviews"Prince Igor should not be such a problem to put on disc except it is not in the repertory of many companies, or wasn't when many recordings of it were made. Also it is the work of a genius part time composer who was a full time scientist and professor who died too young. Enter the savior of much 19th century Russian Opera, Rimsky-Korsakov. Had it not been for the editorial and restorative work of Rimsky, we would not have many of the great works of Glinka, Mussorgsky, Dargomizhsky, or Borodin. Despite the critical opinions of today's reviewers, Rimsky at least was a fellow 19th century Russian composer, and he knew these men and their work first hand. This recording from Bulgaria with excellent orchestra and chorus and a fine line up of soloists gives a complete reading of the standard score. Tcharkarov is a sensitive conductor. The hall is reverberant, a feature of many Sony recordings of this period. The overall effect is of an oratorio--the music is all here; the drama is somewhat missing."Report Abuse