Khan Konchack's Aria
The story of Prince Igor is true, the story starts in 1185, it is about Igor Svyatoslavich Prince of Novgorod-Seversk one of the principalities of medieval Russia.
Igor went off with his army, brother and son to fight the Polovtsians, Turkish nomads who were raiding his domains as well as other domains in Russia. In the great three day battle that follows the Russians on the third day are surrounded and run out of water and are forced to surrender, Igor is wounded and he and his son Vladimir are taken captive.
Khan Konchak the Polovtsian leader gives Igor and his son the free run of their camp and surrounding area but has them followed at a distance at all times to make sure they do not escape. In the mean time Igor's son falls in love with the Khans daughter.
Igor with the help of a Polovtsian that is a Christian arranges horses for Igor and his son to escape. As the escape plan plays out Igor and his helper escape but Igor's son who is on the trailing horse is lassoed by the pursuing Polovtsians and is recaptured. Igor and his helper get away and Igor returns back to his wife at Putivl.
Igor's son Vladimir remains a captive for four more years until he marries the Khans daughter and then he is released.
This is a true story that really happend.
The opera is based on an epic poem about the story.
The poem is called "The Lay of the Host of Igor" it is an epic poem about the incident an it is now thought to have been written only three to five years after it actually happened and possibly written by Prince Igor himself. The poem, thought to be a fake at one time but proven to be authentic in modern times, is a masterpiece, written in 12th Century East Slavonic, it evokes memories of the old Slavonic Gods, wars of bygone days and nature even though the Russians are Christians at the time of the story. There is a good translation of the poem in English.