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About Ildar Abdrazakov

The Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov has been called "one of the most exciting Russian singers to emerge on the international scene..." by Opera News.

Abdrazakov is Russian by nationality, but not by ethnicity: he is three-quarters Bashkirian (an ethnic group in southern Russia with its own language and political subdivision) and one-quarter Tatar. He was born in Ufa, then the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan (or Bashkiria) in the Soviet Union, on September 26, 1976. His father was a theater director, his mother an artist, and Abdrazakov followed their choices of career, enrolling at the Ufa State Institute of the Arts. His stage debut came at age four in one of his father's productions. He won several major operatic prizes in Russia in the late '90s, including the international Rimsky-Korsakov Competition and the Obraztsova Competition, and a major breakthrough came in 1998 when he appeared as Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at St. Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theatre.

He went on to play the role of Figaro more than 100 times, telling Vanity Fair that "There are many aspects of the role," he says. "Comedy, drama, some lyric tones." Abdrazakov made his first impact in the West singing Italian-language roles, turning to Russian parts only later. A win at Parma's Maria Callas International Television Competition in 2000 brought him to the attention of Italian talent spotters, and he gave a recital at the La Scala opera house in 2001. Abdrazakov made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 in Mozart's Don Giovanni, an opera in which both the title role and that of Leporello are part of his repertoire. He has also taken major bass roles in operas by Verdi (Attila, Macbeth, Luisa Miller, and Oberto), Rossini (Il Turco in Italia, Semiramide, Moïse et Pharaon), Gounod (Mephistophélès in Faust), Donizetti (Anna Bolena), and Bellini (Norma), among others. Among his major appearances in Russian opera are those in Borodin's Prince Igor at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has been a regular in the 2000s and 2010s.

Abdrazakov's first CD appearance as a soloist came in 2006 on a recording of Shostakovich's Words of Michelangelo on the Chandos label. His solo recital, Power Players, appeared on Delos in 2014, and he recorded the Shostakovich work once again in 2016 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, along with Schoenberg's Kol Nidre. He also appeared on a Grammy-winning recording of Verdi's Requiem with the CSO. In 2017, Deutsche Grammophon issued Duets, a collection of tenor-bass (or baritone) scenes featuring Abdrazakov and tenor Rolando Villazón. ~ James Manheim