Opera in four acts with a prologue
Libretto by A. P. Borodin
Igor Svyatoslavovich, Prince Seversky
Yaroslavna, his wife in a second marriage
Vladimir Igorevich, his son from his first marriage
Vladimir Yaroslavich, Prince of Galich, brother
Konchakovna, the daughter of Khan Konchak
Ovlur, baptized Polovnik
Russian princes and princesses, boyars and nobles, elders, Russian warriors, girls, people. Polovtsian khans, Konchakovna’s friends, Konchak’s slaves (chagas), Russian captives, Polovtsian sentry.
The action takes place: in the prologue, in the first and fourth acts – in the town of Putivle, in the second and third acts – in the Polovtsy camp.
Time: 1185 year.
In the ancient Russian city of Putivl, Prince Igor is going with his retinue to march on the Polovtsians. The people solemnly praises the prince. Suddenly, the earth is enveloped in gloom – a solar eclipse begins. Seeing in this an evil omen, the people and the boyars dissuade Igor; begs the prince to stay and his wife Yaroslavna. But Igor is adamant. Having entrusted cares for his wife to her brother Vladimir Galitsky, he leads a friend to the battle with the enemy.
Galitsky took advantage of Igor’s departure. Together with his servants, he goes around and outrages; The
rampant feast is dominated by the drunken whisperers Skula and Eroshka, who fled from Igorev’s army. Galitsky cherishes the dream of sitting down in Putivl prince, but in the meantime, in every way oppresses the inhabitants. Daring stealing a girl, the prince drives out girlfriends who have come to ask for her release.
Protection from an insolent offender girl looking for Yaroslavna. But, despite all her determination and firmness, the princess can not cope with her brother. Boyars bring unkind news: in an unequal battle the whole army fell, Igor was wounded and taken prisoner with his son, and the hordes of Polovtsians came to Putivl. A disturbing alarm is heard, announcing an enemy invasion.
Evening in the Polovtsy camp. Female Polovchanka songs and dances entertained the daughter of Khan Konchakovna But only a joyful date with the prince Vladimir, who loved her, dispelled the sadness of the beauty. In a deep meditation Igor. Faithful Ovlur offers him escape. Igor dreams of escaping from captivity, but hesitates – it does not fit the Russian prince to escape secretly. His nobility and courage admire the warlike Khan Konchak. He accepts Igor as an honored guest. The Khan is ready even to let him go if Igor gives his word not to raise the sword against the Polovtsians. But Igor boldly declares that, having gained freedom, he will again assemble the regiments on the khan. To dispel the prince’s gloomy thoughts, Konchak tells the slaves to sing and dance.
The Khan army returns with rich booty. Having learned from them about the misfortune that befell the native Putivl, Igor decides to escape and, when the guards fall asleep, negotiates with Ovlur. Konchakovna, who overheard this conversation, begs Vladimir not to leave her. But love fights in the soul of a prince with a sense of duty. Then Konchakovna wakes the sleeping mill and delays Vladimir; Igor manages to escape. Angry khans demand the death of a prince, but Konchak declares Vladimir his son-in-law.
Early in the morning in Putivl on the city wall Yaroslavna wept bitterly. She turns to the wind, the sun, the Dnieper with entreaty to return her dear Igor. In the distance the horsemen are shown. This is Igor, accompanied by Ovlur. They are seen by the stunned Skula and Eroshka. Shifty Skula proposes to strike at the bell to be the first to inform the people about the return of the prince. The trick is succeeded. On pleasures, the whistleblowers are forgiven. Together with the people they welcome Igor.