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Ildar Abdrazakov (Bass)

Ildar Abdrazakov has established himself as one of opera’s most sought-after basses. Since making his La Scala debut in 2001 at 25, the Russian singer has become a mainstay at leading houses worldwide, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. His powerful yet refined voice coupled with his compelling stage presence have prompted critics to hail him as a “sensational bass…who has just about everything – imposing sound, beautiful legato, oodles of finesse” (The Independent). Also an active concert artist, he has performed at London’s BBC Proms and at New York’s Carnegie Hall, as well as with leading international orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic.

In the 2015-16 season, Abdrazakov returns to several favorite roles in the bel canto repertoire, beginning with a revival of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Met in September. He reprises his acclaimed Henry VIII opposite Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role and returns to New York in January for two encore performances as part of the company’s Tudor Queens trilogy. In Europe, Abdrazakov returns to the Opéra National de Paris as Don Basilio in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. He then turns to the works of Verdi, beginning with the composer’s Requiem at Philharmonie Luxembourg and followed by an encore performance as Verdi’s Attila at the Monte Carlo Opera in April. In May, he joins Riccardo Muti for two concert performances of Macbeth at Stockholm’s Konserthuset. Other concert highlights include a reading of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri in Moscow with Vladimir Spivakov and the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia in December. The coming season also sees Abdrazakov at the helm of the Elena Obraztsova International Academy of Music – where he was appointed Artistic Director by Obraztsova herself in 2014 – which opened in a gala concert August 2015.

In more than a decade since his house debut, Abdrazakov has become a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera. Last season he headlined the gala opening of the company’s season in the title role in a new Sir Richard Eyre production of Le nozze di Figaro under James Levine. He previously sang the title role in a new staging of Borodin’s Prince Igor – a performance captured on DVD and Blu-ray by Deutsche Grammophon. Other notable Met productions include his role debut as Henry VIII opposite Anna Netrebko in Anna Bolena to open the company’s 2011-12 season, Dosifei in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina, Escamillo in two productions of Carmen, and the title role in a new production of Verdi’s Attila under the baton of Riccardo Muti. At La Scala, Abdrazakov joined Muti in concert for the reopening of the theater in 2004-05, and that same season he sang Moses in a production of Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon that was recorded and released on CD and DVD. It was in the same role – in a new production led by Muti – that the bass made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2009, and he has also sung Moses with the Italian maestro in Rome. Abdrazakov first appeared at London’s Royal Opera House in 2009, performing Verdi’s Requiem in concert with Sir Antonio Pappano, and he has since returned there to sing Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

The title role in Le nozze di Figaro was the vehicle for Abdrazakov’s 1998 house debut at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. Among his other signature roles are both the title character and Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni; Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust and Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust; Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma; Selim in Rossini’s Il turco in Italia, and Assur in his Semiramide. The Russian bass is noted for Verdi roles including Walter in Luisa Miller and the title character in Oberto, as well as Attila and Banquo.

entioned, he has sung on the stages of Barcelona’s Teatre Liceu, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Paris’s Opéra Bastille, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington National Opera, and the Los Angeles Opera. On the concert stage, he has given recitals in Russia, Italy, Japan, and the United States, and performed with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, and Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Among the noted conductors with whom he has collaborated are Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, Gianandrea Noseda, Bertrand de Billy, Riccardo Frizza, Riccardo Chailly, and Sir Antonio Pappano.

Abdrazakov’s debut solo album, Power Players, a celebration of the great Russian bass roles, was released in early 2014 on Delos, to great critical acclaim. His recording of Verdi’s Requiem with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony won a Grammy Award, and he has recorded unpublished arias by Rossini with Riccardo Chailly and the Symphony Orchestra of Milan, Giuseppe Verdi for Decca, and Cherubini’s Mass with Muti and the Bayerischer Rundfunk for EMI Classics. For Chandos, he has recorded Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo and Rachmaninoff’s The Miserly Knight, both with Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic. The bass’s DVD releases include Moïse et Pharaon from La Scala, Oberto from Bilbao, Norma from Parma, and Lucia di Lammermoor from the Metropolitan Opera. Marking the Verdi bicentennial, May 2013 saw Abdrazakov’s star turn in the title role of Attila immortalized on the Mariinsky label’s first DVD/Blu-ray release.

Abdrazakov was born in 1976 in the city of Ufa, then the capital of the Soviet republic of Bashkiria. His parents were both artists: his mother was a painter and his late father, a director. Abdrazakov began acting in his father’s stage and film productions at age four, and it was these early experiences that inspired him to pursue a career in the arts. Upon graduating 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 Obraztsova competition. His 2000 win at the Maria Callas International Television Competition in Parma 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 Ermenegildo Zegna, to promote music and its values. Abdrazakov’s concert attire is generously provided by the designer.


A bass of elegance and unforced resonance.

Bernard Holland, The New York Times

One of the most sought-after young basses in the operatic world.

Annalyn Swan, Vanity Fair

One of the most exciting Russian singers to emerge on the international scene in the past decade.

F. Paul Driscoll, Opera News

He has been regarded for some time as one of the top opera singers in the world.

Lorna Koski, WWD

He has a beautiful voice, a velvet carpet of a voice… he sings intelligently. Furthermore, he’s a pleasing stage personality.

Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion

He sang soundly and seemed perfectly comfortable, and credible, as the World’s Sexiest Man — not something every young bass or bass-baritone can pull off: carelessly sexy in the robust Champagne aria, wistful and serious and quiet in the serenade ‘Deh, vieni alla finestra.’

Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

The Bashkir bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov has taken a route to deserved international prominence almost unparalleled among singers from the former USSR. Still in is thirties, he has made his reputation singing the Italian and French repertoire with a distinction encompassing stylistic and linguistic acumen allied to a strong stage presence.

David Shengold, Opera News

Ildar Abdrazakov opens a new season at the Metropolitan Opera

Mr. Abdrazakov has a sturdy, dark and rich voice that carries well. Yet it was the refinement and clarity of his singing, the Verdian accents, that made him so moving.

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Abrazakov is without rival in this repertory today, bringing to it a complex and appealing personality.

Sylvain Fort, Classica

At 38, Ildar Abdrazakov is one of the most sought-after basses on the international opera stage. His dark velvety voice, flawless technique, musical integrity, classy sense of style and acting skills are just a few of the many qualities that have made him one of the favorite singers of the world’s most prestigious conductors and opera houses.

Opera World

Ildar Abdrazakov, Russia’s great bass, was magnificent.

Manuela Hoelterhoff, Bloomberg

Abdrazakov plumbed the cavernous depths of Verdi’s writing for low male voice; he was imposing in everything he sang.

John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune

In 2001, when bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov made his debut at Milan’s La Scala in a recital at the age of 25, after winning the International Maria Callas Grand Prix Opera competition, he was scared. “For the first time I go to La Scala, for each thing, for each rehearsal, my knees were shaking,” he says. “But the audience was very fine with me. I did a good enough job for a great conductor [Riccardo Muti] to say nice things to me.”


As the servant Figaro, whose marriage is the subject of Beaumarchais’ comedy, the hunky Russian bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov boasted big, rich tone and nimble Italian diction for his patter numbers. He’s a natural stage animal too, achieving easy rapport with the audience when he called for them to “open their eyes” in his last act aria “Aprite un po’ quegli occhi.

James Jordan, The New York Post

He has a lush bass voice that won’t quit. The tone alone can seduce, especially when the singer files it down to a honeyed mezza voce.

Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Best of all, though, was the sensational bass, Ildar Abdrazakov, who has just about everything – imposing sound, beautiful legato, oodles of finesse.

Edward Seckerson, The Independent

The beauty of the voice, singing in its native language, is immediately and persistently striking.…the bass resonance is genuine and doesn’t disappear even in the softest phrases.

Ralph Lucano, American Record Guide

Vocal Hero

October 2014 г.

It could almost be the plot of an opera: a dark, dashing descendant of both Genghis Khan and Tamerlane appears and sweeps all before him. But in the case of Russian-born bass Ildar Abdrazakov—“I’m one-fourth Tatar and three-fourths Bashkirian,” he says with a smile—it happens to be true.

Vanity Fair

A sweet-toned, lyric sheen that is ideal for the bel canto repertoire, but he can summon up the rougher, darker timbre necessary for the nastier characters in the bass spectrum.

Amanda Holloway, Opera

Whenever that soft-grained bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov muted his tone, it was easy to feel the shiver of death and the world’s sorrows cradled in his hands.

Geoff Brown, The Arts Desk

Ildar Abdrazakov, one of the most exciting Russian singers to emerge on the international scene in the past decade, is the star of Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production of Prince Igor at the Met. The bass chats with F. Paul Driscoll about conductors, directors and video games.

Opera News

Making his role debut as Mefistofele, Ildar Abdrazakov, the bass-baritone from Bashkortostan, filled the house with a muscular, big, well-projected voice.…This is Opera with a capital O, well deserving of its standing-O reception.

Janos Gereben, The San Francisco Examiner

Ildar Abdrazakov stole the show as Don Basilio, giving us a splendidly devious exposition of the virtues of slander in “La calunnia è un venticello.”

David Karlin, Bachtrack

Ildar Abdrazakov, who sings the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele at San Francisco Opera, doesn’t look devilish, quite to the contrary: The Russian bass has movie-idol good looks, even if he has mastered opera’s diabolic trio.

San Francisco Classical Voice

Coffee and tea have just been delivered at an oyster bar near the White House when I turn on my digital recorder. A Mephistophelean grin curls onto Ildar Abdrazakov’s face as he picks up the device and speaks into it: “Hello. My name is Ildar. Now I will try to explain to you my life, onstage and off.”

Classical Singer

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