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Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, January 2015

…particular highlight is the Demon’s aria Na Vozdushnom Okeane from Anton Rubinstein’s underrated The Demon. As the forlorn and mysterious Demon wandering the heavens searching for the warmth of human love Abdrazakov’s aptitude for characterisation is fiercely evident. Worthy of esteem is his exquisite legato and capacity for vocal colouring. An experienced opera conductor, Constantine Orbelian ensures tautly controlled and well paced tempi from the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra capably supported by the splendid Kaunas State Choir.

The sound is clear and well balanced.

This collection is something special. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, June 2014

This disc has given me much pleasure. It is a tantalizing glimpse of a talent that could dominate this repertoire on the world stages, if the owner so chooses, in the coming years. I doubt that we shall get a studio recording of his Boris in the near future, and certainly not with him singing the main three bass roles as Christoff did in his two complete recordings. However, a second disc from Abdrazakov including the Clock Scene and Death of Boris along with Pimen’s aria, all from Boris Godunov, would be very welcome indeed, if anyone out there is listening or reading.

It is a long time since a record was issued of native Russian singing arias from that country’s rich operatic repertoire and with its distinctive patina. That Ildar Abdrazakov brings his characteristic beauty of tone and diction to the music is particularly welcome. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, June 2014

Abdrazakov brings splendid sonority and nuance to the Russian arias on this disc.

To each aria, Abdrazakov applies distinctive touches, keeping his silken voice weighty and penetrating or light and buoyant—whatever the dramatic moment demands.

Constantine Orbelian teams vibrantly with Abdrazakov, conducting the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and Kaunas State Choir in performances that capture the special sound world of these rich excerpts. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Shengold
Opera News, May 2014

This fine survey of Russian arias…may change the way we think about this valuable artist. Many of these pieces are associated with granitic Slavic basses such as Chaliapin, Reizen, Christoff and Ghiaurov. Abdrazakov’s tone, though impressive, is more compact than that of these illustrious predecessors; he concentrates on meaningful phrasing and a well-bound legato.

A highlight of this disc is the seductive, beautifully orchestrated aria “In the celestial ocean,” from the Lermontov-based Demon, by Anton Rubinstein…Sheer decibel-power may not be Abdrazakov’s strongest suit, but any opera house staging the Russian works represented here would certainly want to count him among its players. © 2014 Opera News Read complete review



Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, May 2014

…I must…give praise and thanks for the superb conducting of Constantine Orbelian. He is so magnificent in matching the singer nuance-for-nuance that he set a very high standard in Russian opera conducting.

In the aria from Prince Igor, Abdrazakhov pushes his interpretive powers to the max…he does no damage to the voice by doing so…Moreover, he does all this without sacrificing the musical line or distorting the notes, an object lesson in itself. He also brings out the energy of Mussorgsky’s famous “Town of Kazan” aria without hamming it up, lightening the voice for some passages and accenting the words without exaggerating the rhythms. Abdrazakhov employs the kind of word-painting one expects from the best Lieder singers, and this pays dividends in aria after aria, bringing even such normally trite material as Tchaikovsky’s Iolanthe aria or the scene from Prokofiev’s War and Peace to life. This kind of singing trumps “vocal power” any day of the week.

No matter where you test Abdrazakhov in this recital, you touch the robe of genius. I cannot say enough good things about this disc. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review



Ralph V Lucano
American Record Guide, May 2014

The beauty of the voice, singing in its native language, is immediately and persistently striking. I enjoyed almost everything…

Orbelian is a strong conductor, and the orchestral playing, if not deluxe, is at least adequate. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide





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