Ildar Abdrazakov Earns Praise for his “Magnificent” and “Powerful” Portrayal of the Title Character in the Met’s New Production of Borodin’s Prince Igor

Comment Off 50 Views


 “Ildar Abdrazakov, Russia’s great bass, was magnificent, especially in Igor’s grieving aria.”    — Bloomberg News


Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov – whom the Metropolitan Opera just announced will star in the title role of a new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro for its 2014-15 season-opening gala – has earned a chorus of praise for his performance as the eponymous character in Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production of Prince Igor at the Met, which last staged Borodin’s work nearly 100 years ago. In the New York Times, Anthony Tommasini enthused over Abdrazakov at length: “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 brings passion, even a touch of neediness, to his exchanges with his devoted wife, Yaroslavna. … Mr. Abdrazakov does his most burnished, powerful singing in the prince’s despairing soliloquy [in Act II].” The New York Observer had a similar view: “Abdrazakov hurled his dark bass-baritone into Igor’s soul-searching arias, the warm, lyrical tone suggesting the proud prince’s underlying vulnerability.” WQXR likewise commended the bass’s “sonorous” tone andClassical Review his “dramatic force.”


Prince Igor continues to run at the Met through March 8, and the March 1 performance will be transmitted to movie theaters worldwide in the Met’s ever-popular Live in HDseries. A fitting companion to Abdrazakov’s string of performances as Prince Igor is his freshly released solo debut on Delos Records: Power Players – Russian Arias for Bass. The album includes that great Act II soliloquy from Prince Igor, along with arias by Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Abdrazakov recorded the album with Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony and Kaunas State Choir under Constantine Orbelian. A sample track, “Ves’ tabar spit” from Rachmaninov’s Aleko, can be heard here. Already available in the U.S., Power Players will be released internationally on February 25.


When Abdrazakov stars as Figaro in the Met’s season-opening Le Nozze di Figaro on September 22 the conductor will be James Levine, and appropriately so, because almost exactly a decade ago, in March 2004, the bass made his company debut under the Met maestro in another Mozart opera, Don Giovanni (singing the role of the peasant Masetto). The new production of Figaro this fall will be directed by Richard Eyre, and the performance on October 18 will be beamed to cinemas worldwide as part of the Met’s 2014-15Live in HD series.


Born in 1976 in Ufa, then the capital of the Soviet Republic of Bashkortostan, Abdrazakov traces his lineage back to Genghis Khan. 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 the age of 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 Bashkirian 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 Obrazova 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. 


Later this season, the Russian bass may be seen as the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Vienna State Opera (May 23–June 4), and as Banquo in Macbeth – alongside Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenlyside, and Joseph Calleja – at the Munich Opera Festival (June 27–July 1). He also takes part in Berlioz’s Messe Solennelle at Vienna’s Musikverein (May 10-12), gives a one-night-only concert at the Royal Opera House Muscat (April 24), and teams up with tenor Ramón Vargas for a duo recital at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris (June 11). Earlier this season, Abdrazakov headlined the San Francisco Opera’s opening night gala in his staged role debut as Boito’s Mefistofele, and opened the Rome Opera’s season singing de Silva in Ernani under the baton of his longtime friend and mentor, Riccardo Muti. He also joined the renowned Italian conductor for a special Verdi bicentennial performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which was streamed live online around the world. 


Further details of Power Players: Russian Arias for Bass and of Ildar Abdrazakov’s upcoming engagements are provided below, and more information is available at the artist’s web site: High-resolution photos may be downloaded here.



Ildar Abdrazakov

Power Players: Russian Arias for Bass 

Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra & Kaunas State Choir / Constantine Orbelian

CD label: Delos (DE 3456)

Digital release date: Jan 7

U.S. release date: Jan 28

International release date: Feb 25

Rachmaninov: “Ves’ tabar spit” from Aleko

Glinka: “Farlaf’s Rondo” from Ruslan and Lyudmila

Glinka: “O pole, pole” from Ruslan and Lyudmila

Borodin: “Ni sna ne otdykha” from Prince Igor

Mussorgsky: “Kak vo gorode bylo vo Kazane” from Boris Godunov

Rubinstein: “Na Vozdushnom akiane” from The Demon

Tchaikovsky: “Liubvi vsye vozrasti pokorni” from Eugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky: “Gospod’ moi, esli greshen ia” from Iolanta

Glinka: “Chuyut pravdu!” from A Life for the Tsar

Prokofiev: “Velichavaya v solnechnykh luchakh” from War and Peace

Rimsky-Korsakov: “Song of the Viking Guest” from Sadko

Mussorgsky: “Coronation Scene” from Boris Godunov



Ildar Abdrazakov: upcoming engagements


Feb. 14, 17, 21, 24; March 1*, 4, 8

New York, NY

Borodin: Prince Igor (title role)

Metropolitan Opera

*The Met: Live in HD transmission


April 24

Muscat, Oman

Royal Opera House, Muscat



May 10, 11, 12

Vienna, Austria

Berlioz: Messe Solennelle

Musikverein / Riccardo Muti


May 23, 26, 29; June 1, 4

Vienna, Austria

Offenbach: Les contes d’Hoffmann (Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, Dapertutto)

Vienna State Opera


June 11

Paris, France

Les Grandes Voix: in concert with Ramón Vargas, tenor

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées


June 27; July 1

Munich, Germany

Verdi: Macbeth (Banquo)

Bavarian State Opera


July 27

Verbier, Switzerland

Verdi: Don Carlo, Acts III and IV in concert (Filippo II)

Verbier Festival


#            #            #


                                        © 21C Media Group, February 2014




Louise Barder

21C Media Group

162 W. 56th Street, Suite 506

New York, NY 10019

(646) 532 4372


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Free Newsletter Updated Daily