Ildar Abdrazakov Kicks Off 2014-15 at Met Starring in Title Role of New Season-Opening Figaro and as Escamillo in Carmen, Both Broadcast Live in HD
“One of the most sought-after young basses in the operatic world.” — Vanity Fair
Since making his La Scala debut in 2001 at just 25, Ildar Abdrazakov—who is featured in the October issue of Vanity Fair—has risen steadily to become one of the most prominent basses in the world. After making his Mostly Mozart Festival debut in Beethoven’s Ninth with Gianandrea Noseda last month, he kicks off his 2014-15 at the Metropolitan Opera, in the title role of Richard Eyre’s new season-opening production of Le nozze di Figaro, with James Levine on the podium (Sep 22 – Oct 25). Following his run as Figaro, Abdrazakov swaps his valet’s cloak for a toreador’s cape, remaining at the Met for two performances as Escamillo in Carmen opposite Anita Rachvelishvili, his Met co-star in last season’s Prince Igor. Those unable to attend in person will have a chance to catch the “sensational bass” (The Independent, UK) in Live in HD broadcasts of both Met productions: the October 18 performance of Figaro and the November 1 Carmen will both be transmitted live to cinemas worldwide.
Over the past decade since his house debut – which was also in Mozart (as Masetto in Don Giovanni) and under Levine’s leadership – Abdrazakov has become a mainstay at the Met. Notable past productions include his role debut as Henry VIII opposite Anna Netrebko in Anna Bolena, opening the company’s 2011-12 season; Dosifey in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina; and the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Attila under the baton of his longtime mentor, Riccardo Muti. In its review of his Prince Igor at the Met last season, the New York Times praised the “compelling bass,” noting that “solid and ruggedly handsome, Mr. Abdrazakov is a confident actor. Though his voice is firm and robust, he is not one of those formidable, gravelly Russian basses. He is a fine singer of Italian repertory, and his Igor has moments of Italianate lyrical refinement.” He recorded Igor’s famous Act II aria for his debut solo album, Power Players: Russian Arias for Bass, which was released by Delos earlier this year, and a DVD and Blu-ray of the Met production of Prince Igor will be released by Deutsche Grammophon later this month.
Between performances of Figaro, Abdrazakov returns to Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on October 12 to join Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, Angela Meade, and a host of other opera stars for the 2014 Richard Tucker Gala, supporting the foundation named for the great Brooklyn-born tenor that nurtures the careers of talented young American opera singers. The performance will be televised at a later date as part of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Live From Lincoln Center. The bass’s other concert appearances this season include a solo program presented by the Palm Beach Opera for its annual gala on February 5 and performances of Verdi’s Requiem with the Staatskapelle Dresden under Christian Thielemann at the Salzburg Easter Festival in the spring; Abdrazakov’s 2009 live recording of the Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti won two Grammy Awards. In summer 2015, he joins celebrated singers Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Elena Zhidkova for an evening of favorite arias, duets and opera scenes at the Munich Königsplatz Open Air Concert.
In opera appearances on the other side of the Atlantic this season, Abdrazakov takes on leading roles in several different European productions. First he sings Moïse in Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon this fall at the Marseille Opera—a role which he previously performed under Muti at La Scala in a production that was recorded and released on DVD in 2005—and then crosses to the dark side to play Méphistophélès in two productions of Gounod’s Faust: first at Paris Opera in March in a revival of the Jean-Louis Martinoty production, and then in June at the Teatro Regio di Torino in a new staging by Stefano Poda. In between his turns as the devil, Abdrazakov takes on the role of Mustafà in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri in a return to the Vienna State Opera.
Ildar Abdrazakov was born in 1976 in Ufa, the capital of the then-Soviet Republic of Bashkortostan. His parents were both artists: his mother was a painter, and his late father was a director. He began acting in his father’s stage and film productions at age 4, and it was these early experiences that inspired him to pursue a career in the arts. Upon graduation from the Ufa State Institute of Arts, he joined the Bashkir State Opera and Ballet Theatre. In the late 1990s, he won a string of prestigious vocal competitions: the Moscow Grand Prix named after Irina Arkhipova, the Glinka International Vocal Competition, the Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition and the International Obraztsova Competition. His 2000 win at the Maria Callas International Television Competition in Parma, Italy, thrust him into the international spotlight and led to his debut at La Scala the following year. Since 2007, Abdrazakov has been an ambassador for the Zegna & Music project, a philanthropic initiative founded in 1997 by clothing designer Ermenegildo Zegna to promote music and its values. Abdrazakov’s concert attire is generously provided by the designer.
Further details of Abdrazakov’s engagements are provided below, and more information is available at his web site: ildarabdrazakov.com. High-resolution photos taken by Julia Borodina can be downloaded here.
Ildar Abdrazakov: 2014-15 engagements
Sep 22, 25, 27; Oct 2, 7, 10, 14, *18, 22, 25
New York, NY
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro; Oct 18 broadcast Live in HD)
New York, NY
Avery Fisher Hall
Richard Tucker Gala
Oct 28 & *Nov 1
New York, NY
Bizet: Carmen (Escamillo; Nov 1 broadcast Live in HD)
Nov 8, 11, 14, 16
Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon (Moïse)
Palm Beach, FL
Palm Beach Opera
March 2, 5, 9, 12, 15, 18, 22, 25, 28
Gounod: Faust (Méphistophélès)
March 31 & April 3
Salzburg Easter Festival
April 18, 23, 27, 30
Verdi: L’Italiana in Algeri (Mustafà)
June 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14
Teatro Regio di Torino
Gounod: Faust (Méphistophélès)
© 21C Media Group, Sep 2014