- Boris Godunov, opera: Coronation Scene
- Boris Godunov, opera: Kak vo gorode bylo vo Kazani
Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov has sung Italian and French repertory with some success, but he seemed to come into his own with this 2014 recording of popular Russian arias. It's not all the magic alchemy of Russian artists singing Russian music; Abdrazakov is ably accompanied by a Lithuanian orchestra under an Armenian conductor. And part of the appeal comes from intelligent repertoire choice; Abdrazakov, in his mid-thirties, offers a program ideally suited to the display of his voice in several different shades. In a selection of "power players," characters involved in some kind of power relationship or power struggle, he is now in a position to sound convincing in the thicker growls of Mussorgsky as well as the more classical tunes of Glinka. In a scene from Prokofiev's "War and Peace," where Marshal Kutuzov decides to cede Moscow to Napoleon's troops so that the Russian army can live to fight another day, he shows real depth of quiet, resigned emotion. But where the situation calls for blazing power, he has it in spades. This is a delightful, exciting recital even for a listener not very familiar with Russian opera, and it's one of the most exciting things in the field since Dmitri Hvorostovsky came on the scene.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Becoming a power player Becoming a power player: There are not a lot of solo recitals on record by basses, so this debut disc by one of the up-and-comers is especially welcome. Ildar Abdrazakov has been singing at the Metropolitan Opera and other major houses for ten years already, in roles ranging from the Italian bel canto through the twentieth century stuff; here he turns his talent to his “own” Russian music. The voice still sounds more like a baritone, with a nice bright top--tossing off high notes to end the two RUSSLAN arias--and less splendid at the bottom. Not yet 40, he will grow into these roles even more. Meanwhile, he displays excellent breath control and dynamic range from soft asides through ringing and wobble-free fortes. The chorus joins in to cap the album with the Coronation Scene from BORIS GODUNOV. (Alas, the “church bells” are dreadfully thin, although the orchestra otherwise provides fine support.) Much of the repertoire here will be unfamiliar to the casual opera listener, but texts and translations are included.
I admit I am a sucker for Russian bass or baritone. Whether it's those great commanding moments in "Boris Godunov " or just about anything from Dmitry Hvorostovsky, I love listening to it. There is something powerful and just a little ominous about the language itself and a strong male voice. Regardless, I imagine that anyone who likes strong singing will love this characteristic collection of Russian opera arias featuring the amazing "new" bass Ildar Abdrazakov. Abdrazakov, amazingly, first made his mark at the Maria Callas Competition at the age of twenty-four by singing Italian and French! I have not heard that from him but this great sampling of work in his native tongue should really get your attention! His diction and phrasing is excellent and, while most of this music is of the strong, powerful sort, his range and dynamics are quite impressive. This is, musically, a wonderful collection as well. Certainly there are some of the "big name" Russian operas and arias represented here, such as those from "Boris Godunov" , Tschaikovsky, "Eugene Onegin" and Glinka's "Russlan and Ludmilla" However, there are a few somewhat rare offerings as well, such as Anton Rubinstein "The Demon" or Tschaikovsky's lesser known "Iolanthe" The recording is great too, featuring top notch performances by the Kaunas City (Lithuania) Symphony under the direction of Constantine Orbelian. I believe if you like opera; if you like Russian opera, featuring strong Russian bass, you will love this!
Outstanding collection of Arias for Bass This disc consists of 12 different arias for bass -- and not just normal bass, but powerful and sensitive bass! Mr. Abdrazakov delivers all of the power and sensitivity expected of a truly captivating Russian aria performance, and it is a treat to experience. Particularly noteworthy are the arias from Ruslan & Ludmila, Borodins Prince Igor, as well as Tchaikovskys Eugene Onegin. But the Viking Song from Rimsky-Korsakovs Sadko is just spell-binding. The orchestra sounds *fantastic*, and Mr. Abdrazakov has the raw power and grace to deliver every nuance in captivating fashion. This disc is worth owning just for this track. The liner notes give interesting background material on Mr. Abdrazakov as well as Conductor Constantine Orbelian (who does an absolutely fabulous job with a very talented Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra), and also provide Russian to English translations of each work. If you like Russian Opera, then this is definitely a recording that you need to have in your collection. And if you dont know whether you do or not, get it anyway and listen to the tracks I indicated above. You wont be sorry.