Ildar Abdrazakov has established himself as one of opera’s most sought-after basses. Since making his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 2001 at 25, the Russian native has become a mainstay at leading houses worldwide, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Paris National 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). As 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 Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Abdrazakov kicked off the 21-22 season as Don Basilio in a new production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Vienna State Opera. He returned to Vienna later in the season in the title role of Boris Godunov and as Selim in Il Turco in Italia alongside Cecilia Bartoli. The bass appeared as Banquo in the season-opening production of Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala, where he also performed in solo recital. In addition, he returned to the Bolshoi Theatre as Don Giovanni, to the Opera de Monte-Carlo as Selim in Il Turco in Italia and to Zurich Opera as Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri.
Abdrazakov has appeared with virtually every major opera company in the United States and Europe, such as Madrid’s Teatro Real, the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.
Since his house debut in Don Giovanni (2004) Abdrazakov has become a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera. He headlined the gala opening of the company’s 2015-16 season in the title role in a new Sir Richard Eyre production of Le nozze di Figaro. Previously, he 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, Dosifey in Khovanshchina, Escamillo in two productions of Carmen, the title role of Attila under Riccardo Muti, the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, Assur in Rossini’s Semiramide, Leoporello in Don Giovanni and most recently, Banquo in Verdi’s Macbeth and Mephistopheles in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust.
Abdrazakov is a frequent guest at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where he joined Riccardo Muti in concert for the reopening of the theater in 2004-05 and sang Moses in a production of Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon that was recorded and released on CD and DVD. His triumphant performances on one of the most prestigious opera stages resulted in the Franco Abbiati Award in the category of best singer.
The bass made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2009 in a new production of Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon. Since then, he has returned regularly, singing among others, Méphistophélès in a new production of Faust, Mustafà alongside Cecilia Bartoli in the festival’s new production of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri and performances of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
On the concert stage, he has given recitals in Russia, Italy, Japan and the United States, and has performed with orchestras including the Orchestre Metropolitain, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Deutsches Symphony Orchester, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Among the noted conductors with whom he has collaborated are Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Sir Antonio Pappano, James Levine, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gianandrea Noseda, Bertrand de Billy, Riccardo Frizza and Riccardo Chailly.
In early 2017, Abdrazakov signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first solo album Verdi was released in 2019. The bass’ DVD releases include Moïse et Pharaon from La Scala, Oberto from Bilbao, Norma from Parma and Lucia di Lammermoor from the Metropolitan Opera. For the Verdi bicentennial in 2013, Abdrazakov took a star turn in the title role of Attila, immortalized on the Mariinsky label’s first DVD/Blu-ray release.
Abdrazakov was born in Ufa, the capital of the Republic of Bashkiria in Russia. Both of his parents were artists: his mother was a painter and his late father, a director. At age 4, Abdrazakov began acting in his father’s stage and film productions, and these early experiences 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, the Glinka International Vocal Competition, the Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition and the International Elena 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.
Abdrazakov has his own foundation, created to support and promote young talented musicians. Since 2018, he has annually organized festivals in Russia, inviting renowned singers to give concerts and master classes there. Since 2014, he also has been artistic director of the Elena Obraztsova International Academy of Music.