"Prince Igor" runs in an ancient fortress

St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater presents its version of "Prince Igor" as part of the 11th White Nights' Stars International Art Festival.

According to the press service of the Mariinsky, the opera, staged at the Ivangorod Fortress in Ivangorod, Leningrad region, has minimum decor: the ancient walls will provide an excellent atmosphere for ancient Russian events impersonated by the soloists and the orchestra of the famous St. Petersburg-based theater.

"Prince Igor," written by Alexander Borodin and loosely based on Russia's famous ancient literary monument, "The Lay of Igor's Host," is something of a musical offering to Russian history. Written between 1869 and the composer's last days in 1887, the opera was finished by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov, whose excellent memory allowed to complete the missing episodes from sketches and from what he had heard from the author's piano play.

"Prince Igor" debuted at the Mariinsky on October 23, 1890 and has been on the theater's playlists ever since.

It is however not the only event the Mariinsky has prepared for theatergoers. An exhibition that opens at the local museum features the sketches Ivan Bilibin drew for the Mariinsky versions of "Prince Igor" and "Boris Godunov." There will also be Russian sacred music at the Holy Life-Giving Trinity Cathedral, performed by the Mariinsky choir.

The Ivangorod Fortress was founded on the right bank of the river Narva in 1492 by order of Grand Prince Ivan III, and became the outpost on Russia's border with Livonia. A legend says that the architect, who built the fortress, was blinded by the czar's order so that he should never build another fortress like this one. The fortress ensemble formed a century later. Today, it is considered an architectural monument of the 15th-16th centuries.

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