Ildar Abdrazakov: My creative journey.
You do a lot of touring—are there any cities close to your heart that you’d like to come back to?
My hometown of Ufa—my mom, my family and friends live there. It’s where I recharge so that I can go on working at all the operas around the world. Other cities that I visit often I feel at home in.
Can you name your top 5 cities that have a special meaning for you?
- Saint Petersburg
- New York
These are all milestones on my creative journey.
Do you believe classical music is becoming more popular with young people?
Yes. A lot of young people come to the shows and the concerts, I’ve noticed this in the auditorium and at the autograph sessions, especially in Russia.
How do you feel about the increasing number of contemporary productions?
Great, as long as they make sense and the composer has a point. I don’t like tackiness.
Do you prefer the classic repertoire?
I do. Contemporary music is wrong for my voice.
Does the public differ from country to country? Would you say some countries give you a warmer welcome and is it because of the mentality?
It’s different everywhere. Northern countries are more reserved, but the farther down the globe, the warmer and more emotional it gets.
Last year you were a sensation at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. Would you say Monte Carlo is special?
My wife and I happened to have our honeymoon in Monaco, while simultaneously working at a production of Attila. There was just no time otherwise. These memories are what makes it special for me. I love Monte Carlo and I’m always happy to visit and walk the streets of this beautiful European oasis.
Do you have any favorite places in the Principality? What would you recommend to a friend who’s never been here before?
Naturally, the first thing you ought to see is the Monte Carlo opera. It’s Garnier’s masterpiece! Shame it only sits 500. But what other auditorium in the world has a view of the sea? It’s a luxury! Then you must walk the Promenade, visit the Japanese Garden, take a look inside the Grimaldi Forum—a unique exhibition space where there’s always something interesting going on. And then you should take in the Prince’s Palace and explore the streets around it. Another must-see is the Oceanographic Museum, one of the world’s coziest aquariums! That is if you want some peace and quiet. Travelers are always searching for good restaurants, and it would be criminal not to visit the Condamine Market. Food courts are popular nowadays, but I have never seen such quality anywhere else! That’s where one of the best Japanese restaurants in the Principality is located. All in all, you have to see it and try it for yourself.
Which part do you feel the closest connection to?
The one I’m playing at the moment, and I’ve got over 40 of them. But the closest to me in blood and spirit is Attila. Obviously, I’m not into barbarism. He was a nomad, just like I am. There’s a theory that Huns, of which Attila was one, came from the Urals. I like it, because it makes us homeboys who went on to conquer the world, each in his own way, and reached Italy.
Which is your favorite opera stage in the world and why?
It’s impossible to love one child if you have several. Same thing here: I love the place where I’m singing at the moment! We give emotions to people. Classical music stimulates spiritual growth, which is something we’re all in dire need of right now.