Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov has quickly become one of the most dramatic, compelling and talented singers of our day. He has appeared at nearly every major opera house and boasts two Grammy’s to his name.
He has headlined new productions, sung opening nights and is a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera House, where he is singing Figaro in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro on stage now. In December, he will also be singing the title role in Michael Grandage’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the opera which he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 as Masetto.
He has sung everything from Escamillo in Carmen, opposite his wife, mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina to Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, to the title role in Verdi’s Attila.
The lauded bass maintains a busy schedule. In fact, tomorrow he will be one of the featured performers at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala honoring American soprano Ailyn Perez. Tickets are still available for this sure to be fantastic evening of music and you can find them here. I will also be there tomorrow evening and I will give you all the full report soon after. I couldn’t be more excited!
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to conduct an e-mail interview with Mr. Abdrazakov about his upcoming Mozart performances and his career in general. His insightful answers are below.
Opera Teen: You sing such a wide variety of music. Why do you feel drawn to some roles more than others?
Ildar Abdrazakov: I choose my roles by following my voice and my instinct; I’m trying to select roles that fit my character and are closest to my age.
OT: You have sang Mozart much of your career. As a more seasoned and experienced singer, what are you doing or planning to do to bring a new angle to Don Giovanni and Figaro?
IA: I’m not looking to create something new… It is all written in the libretto, and the music does the rest.
OT: You have also defined yourself in Verdi. Attila is a rarely performed opera in America, so did you feel you had to, in a way, reinvent the piece for US audiences?
IA: In the last 30 years this opera was performed many times in some of the the biggest opera houses in the world, sung by some of the greatest basses… I want to thank Maestro Riccardo Muti, who asked me to sing the title role of this opera when it was performed for the first time at the Met.
OT: Your Henry VIII in Anna Bolena was magnificent. How is singing bel canto different from singing Verdi or Mozart? Is it harder?
IA: The styles are different: they were written in different historical moments. They are all very difficult, but in different ways.
OT: What is your dream role, and what is your favorite role you have sung to date?
IA: I would really like to sing Boris (Godunov) and Don Quichotte, but Don Giovanni and Filippo II (Don Carlo) will always remain some of my favorites.