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Ildar Abdrazakov kicks off 2013-14 as San Francisco Opera’s Mefistofele

Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov launches his 2013-14 in devilish style, opening the San Francisco Opera season by making his staged role debut as the title character of Boito’s Mefistofele (Sep 6-Oct 2). Then, in the New Year, Abdrazakov takes on another major role: the title part of Borodin’s Prince Igor at the Metropolitan Opera (Feb 6-March 8, 2014). To coincide with these Met appearances, Delos Records will release Abdrazakov’s debut solo recording, an album comprising bass arias from the Russian repertoire. Between his fall operatic appearances, the singer will take part in a string of Berlioz concert performances with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev in London and Paris, including La damnation de Faust and Roméo et Juliette (Nov 3-17). To celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday on October 10, Abdrazakov joins his longtime friend and mentor Riccardo Muti with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a performance of the composer’s Requiem – which will be transmitted live to an audience in Chicago’s Millennium Park and to audiences around the world via Abdrazakov’s 2009 live recording of the work with the same conductor/orchestra team won two Grammy Awards. Enthralled by his way with Verdi’s Requiem, the Arts Desk said that when the bass muted his tone evocatively that it “was easy to feel the shiver of death and the world’s sorrows cradled in his hands.”
Also active on the European opera scene this season, Abdrazakov sings Fiesco opposite Plácido Domingo’s Simon Boccanegra at the Palau des les Arts in Valencia (March 27 – April 9, 2014), undertakes the four villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Vienna State Opera (May 23-June 4, 2014), and caps his 2013-14 by singing Banquo in Verdi’s Macbeth as part of an all-star cast that includes Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenlyside and Joseph Calleja at the Bavarian State Opera’s Munich Opera Festival (June 27-July 1, 2014). Reviewing one of his Verdi performances at the Met, the New York Times said: “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.” In other concert appearances this season, the bass reunites with Muti for performances of Berlioz’s Messe Solennelle at Vienna’s Musikverein (May 10-12) and gives a one-night-only concert at the Royal Opera House Muscat (April 24). In recital, he teams up with tenor Ramón Vargas for a program at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris (June 11).
San Francisco Opera Season Opener
Abdrazakov opens the San Francisco Opera season by making his staged role debut as the title character in Laurie Feldman’s updated revival of the Robert Carsen production of Boito’s Mefistofele (Sep 6-Oct 2). The bass will be following in the footsteps of his great predecessor Samuel Ramey, who sang Mefistofele in the production the two previous times it was staged, in 1989 and 1994. Abdrazakov’s co-stars include Patricia Racette (Margherita) and Ramón Vargas (Faust), with San Francisco Opera music director Nicola Luisotti conducting.
Prince Igor at the Met & Delos Recording
Reviewing Abdrazakov at the Met, the New York Times praised the bass for having a robust sound and lyrical vigor,while Opera News extolled his “superb phrasing and dramatic nuance.” For his only Met Opera appearance this season, Abdrazakov will be embodying Prince Igor in a new production of Borodin’s rarely heard opera by noted Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov. It will be the first time since 1917 that Prince Igor has been presented at the Met. Abdrazakov’s Delos recording of Russian arias being released around these performances will see him paired with Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra under conductor Constantine Orbelian.
Ildar Abdrazakov
Born in 1976 in Ufa, then the capital of the Soviet Republic of Bashkortostan, Ildar 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 age 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 Bashkir State 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. In addition to being a soloist in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra recording of Verdi’s Requiem that won two Grammy Awards, Abdrazakov stars in the title role of Verdi’s Attila on DVD, filmed at St. Petersburg’s historic Mariinsky Theatre, and conducted by Valery Gergiev. 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. Abdrazakov’s concert attire is generously provided by the designer.
Ildar Abdrazakov: 2013-14 engagements
Sep 6, 11, 14, 17, 20, 24, 29; Oct 2          
San Francisco, California
Boito: Mefistofele (Mefistofele – staged role debut)
San Francisco Opera / Nicola Luisotti, conductor
Oct 10
Chicago, Illinois
Verdi: Requiem
Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Riccardo Muti, conductor
Nov 3, 7
London, UK
Berlioz: La damnation de Faust (Méphistophélès)
London Symphony Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor

Nov 6, 13
London, UK
Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette (Père Laurence)
London Symphony Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor
Nov 17           
Paris, France
Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette (Père Laurence)
London Symphony Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor

Feb 6, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24; March 1, 4, 8, 2014
New York, NY
Borodin: Prince Igor (Prince Igor) 
Metropolitan Opera / Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
March 27, 30; April 3, 6, 9, 2014
Valencia, Spain
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra (Fiesco)
Palau de les Arts
April 24, 2014
Muscat, Oman
Royal Opera House, Muscat
In Concert
May 10, 11, 12, 2014
Vienna, Austria
Berlioz: Messe Solemnis
Musikverein / Riccardo Muti, conductor
May 23, 26, 29; June 1, 4, 2014
Vienna, Austria
Offenbach: Les contes d’Hoffmann
Vienna State Opera / Marko Letonja, conductor
June 11, 2014
Paris, France
Les Grandes Voix: in concert with Ramón Vargas, tenor
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées / Mzia Bachtouridze, piano
June 27; July 1, 2014
Verdi: Macbeth (Banquo)
Bavarian State Opera / Paolo Carignani, conductor
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© 21C Media Group, August 2013



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