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Metropolitan Opera gallery opened largest show ever Jan. 31 for 'Prince Igor'

The Metropolitan Opera's Gallery Met opened its largest show ever on Jan. 31, "Imaginary Portraits: Prince Igor", to celebrate the company's new production of Borodin's "Prince Igor" -- the opera's first performances there since 1917.

Dana Schutz's "Igor" is in the Metropolitan Opera's Gallery Met show "Imaginary Portraits: Prince Igor",opening Jan. 31. Schutz has had two recent retrospectives at the Miami Art Museum.
Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York

The opera, based on the real 12th-century Russian warlord Prince Igor, who made a significant impact on medieval Russian history, opened Feb. 6. For a preview of the performance, click here.

Borodin's four-act opera was completed by Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov after Borodin died in 1887 at age 53.

(Roll over Borodin, and tell Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov the news: their opera would be the basis for the 1953 musical "Kismet". Its hit "Stranger in Paradise" is adapted from the "Prince Igor" Polovtsian Dances.)

One of Gallery Met's 23 imaginary portraits is by architect David Adjaye, the lead designer for the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, now being built on the National Mall. He was named Architecture Innovator of 2013 by the Wall Street Journal's WSJ Magazine.

Additional innovative choices for the exhibit's imaginative portraitists are New York fashion designer Thom Browne, who sported a gray mask with huge bunny ears at his Paris show in January, and "New Yorker" art critic Peter Schjeldahl.

The show's 20 prominent artists include:

"Imaginary Portraits" will be at the Gallery Met, in the opera house's south lobby, through May 10.

"We don’t really know what Prince Igor looked like, and I’ve always wanted to do a show of imaginary portraits, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity," said Gallery Met director Dodie Kazanjian. "The show is a rich mixture of materials and styles, and I'm enormously gratified by the unpredictable responses of these gifted artists."

Kazanjian, a contributing editor of "Vogue" for 25 years, had been deputy press secretary for First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Borodin was the illegitimate son of Prince Gedeanov, who registered him as the son of one of his serfs, according to the Random House Encyclopedic Dictionary of Classical Music, edited by David Cummings. Borodin began composing at age 9, and was given music lessons. Trained in chemistry, he became a distinguished professor and writer on that science.

Borodin was the illegitimate son of Prince Gedeanov, who registered him as the son of one of his serfs, according to the Random House Encyclopedic Dictionary of Classical Music, edited by David Cummings.

Borodin began composing at age 9, and was given music lessons. Trained in chemistry, he became a distinguished professor and writer on that science.

"Music is a pastime, a relaxation from more serious occupations," Borodin wrote to fellow chemist Krylov in 1867.

For more info and tickets: "Imaginary Portraits: Prince Igor", Arnold & Marie Schwartz Gallery Met, Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, N.Y. Free exhibit Jan. 31- May 10. "Prince Igor" performances Feb. 6-March 8.