Bass Ildar Abdrazakov Kicks Off 2012-13 Season with Mozart at the Met and Washington National Opera


Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov [ahb-drah-ZAH-koff], fresh from his appearances with Italian maestro Riccardo Muti at the Salzburg Festival, commences a powerhouse 2012-13 season with two iconic Mozart roles. First, in September, the two-time Grammy Award-winner appears as the infamous anti-hero of Don Giovanni at the Washington National Opera; then, in October and November, he sings the title roles of Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni at the Metropolitan Opera.

Other opera engagements later this season include Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville at the Bavarian State Opera, Don Giovanni with the Vienna State Opera, and King Philip in Don Carlo at the Torino Opera. On the concert stage, Abdrazakov serves as a featured soloist in Prokofiev’s cantata, Ivan the Terrible, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and is a special guest performer at his friend Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s 50th birthday gala in St. Petersburg.

The music of Mozart has been part of Abdrazakov’s career since its earliest days. Figaro, which role the bass sings opposite rising star soprano Mojca Erdmann’s Susanna in a revival of Jonathan Miller’s Met production (from Oct 26), was the vehicle for his 1998 debut at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre; his Susanna on that occasion was a young and then unknown Russian soprano named Anna Netrebko (a video excerpt from their performance can be seen on YouTube). Don Giovanni, whose title character Abdrazakov portrays in Washington (from Sept 20) and at the Met (from Nov 28), was the opera in which he made his Met debut in 2004 as Masetto under James Levine. This will be Abdrazakov’s second appearance in Washington National Opera’s John Pascoe production of Don Giovanni; he alternated between the title character and Leporello alongside his brother, bass Askar Abdrazakov, and bass-baritone Erwin Schrott in the production’s debut run in 2007 under Plácido Domingo.

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

Abdrazakov has appeared at the Met regularly: in 2011-12 he made celebrated role debuts as King Henry VIII in the Met’s season-opening production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and as Dosifei in Mussorgsky’s rarely-seen epic, Khovanshchina, while in 2008-09 he headlined a new Met production of Verdi’s Attila. Other US appearances have been with the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, and Los Angeles Opera, as well as with the Chicago Symphony.