Borodin - Polovetzian Dance No. 17 - Prince Igor

Polovetzian Dance No.17
(Alexander Borodin)

Polovetzian Dance No.17
from opera Prince Igor
by Alexander Borodin

Polovetzian Dances
The “Polovetzian Dances, or Polovtsian Dances, or Polovtsian Dances (Russian: Половецкие пляски, tr. Polovetskie plyaski from the Russian “Polovtsy”” — the name given to the Kipchaks and Cumans by the Rus’ people) form an exotic scene at the end of act 2 of Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor.
Prince Igor (Russian: Князь Игорь, Knyaz’ Igor’) is an opera in four acts with a prologue.
The composer adapted the libretto from the East Slavic epic The Lay of Igor’s Host, which recounts the campaign of Russian prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Polovtsian tribes in 1185. The opera was left unfinished upon the composer’s death in 1887 and was edited and completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov. It was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1890.


Conducted by Gergiev with the Kirov (Mariyinksky) Opera Company

The text of the first stanza of this particular section in the opera is given below.

Lyrics (in Russian)

Невольницы:
Улетай на крыльях ветра
Ты в край родной, родная песня наша,
Туда, где мы тебя свободно пели,
Где было так привольно нам с тобою.
Там, под знойным небом,
Негой воздух полон,
Там под говор моря
Дремлют горы в облаках;
Там так ярко солнце светит,
Родные горы светом заливая,
В долинах пышно розы расцветают,
И соловьи поют в лесах зеленых,
И сладкий виноград растет.
Там тебе привольней, песня,
Ты туда и улетай.

Половцы:
Пойте песни славы хану! Пой!
Славьте силу, дочесть хана! Славь!
Славен хан! Хан!
Славен он, хан наш!
Блеском славы
Солнцу равен хан!
Нету равных славой хану! Нет!
Чаги хана славят хана.
Хана своего.

Lyrics (Transliteration)

Nevolnitsy:
Uletay na krylyakh vetra
Ty v kraj rodnoy, rodnaya pesnya nasha,
Tuda, gde my tebya svobodno peli,
Gde bylo tak privolno nam s tobyu
Tam, pod znoynym nebom,
Negoy vozdukh polon,
Tam pod govor morya
Dremlut gory v oblakakh;
Tam tak yarko solntse svetit,
Rodnyye gory svetom zalivaya,
V dolinakh pyshno rozy rastsvetayut,
I solovyi poyut v lesakh zelyonykh,
I sladkiy vinograd rastyot.
Tam tebe privolney, pesnya,
Ty tuda i uletay.

Polovtsy
Poyte pesni slavy khanu! Poy!
Slav’te silu, dochest’ khana! Slav’!
Slaven khan! Khan!
Slaven on, khan nash!
Bleskom slavy
Solntsu raven khan!
Nyetu ravnykh slavoy khanu! Nyet!
Chagi khana slavyat khana.
Khana svoyego.

Lyrics (English translation)

Slavewomen:
Fly on the wings of the wind
To our native land, dear song of ours,
There, where we have sung you at liberty,
Where we felt so free in singing you.
There, under the hot sky,
The air is full of bliss,
There to the sound of the sea
The mountains doze in the clouds;
There the sun shines so brightly,
Bathing the native mountains in light,
Splendid roses blossom in the valleys,
And nightingales sing in the green forests.
And sweet grapes grow.
You are free there, song,
Fly home,

Polovtsians
Sing songs of praise to the Khan! Sing!
Praise the power and valor of the Khan!
Praise the glorious Khan!
He is glorious, our Khan!
In the brilliance of his glory,
The Khan is equal to the sun!
There is none equal to the Khan in glory, none!
The Khan female slaves praise the Khan,
Their Khan!

The English translation of the remaining is:

Konchak [the Khan]
Do you see the captives
From the distant sea;
Do you see my beauties,
From beyond the Caspian Sea?
Oh, tell me, friend,
Tell me just one word:
If you want to,
I will give you anyone of them.

Polovtsians
Sing songs of praise to the Khan! Sing!
Praised be his generosity, praised be his mercy!
Praise him!
To his enemies the Khan is merciless
He, our Khan!
Who may equal the Khan in glory, who?
In the brilliance of his glory,
He is equal to the sun!
Our Khan, Khan Konchak, is equal
In glory to his forefathers!
The terrible Khan Konchak is equal
In glory to his forefathers!
Glorious is our Khan Konchak!
Glory, glory!

All the Slaves
(Repeats the opening stanza)

Polovtsians
Our Khan, Khan Konchak, is equal
In glory to his forefathers!
The grim Khan Konchak is equal
In glory to his forefathers!
Glory, glory to Khan Konchak!
Khan Konchak!
With your dancing entertain the Khan,
Dance to entertain the Khan, slaves!
Your Khan!
Dance to entertain the Khan, slaves!
Your Khan!
With your dancing entertain the Khan!
Entertain with dancing!
Our Khan Konchak!