“A recital devoted to power: so be it. But is power the only quality that Abrazakov, the stellar basso of the Russian repertoire, has to exploit? No. This recording attests to the contrary. If power there is, it is first of all the power of incarnation. Abrazakov inhabits his characters with a gripping immediacy, comparable in this sense to some illustrious forebears (George London) and contemporaries (Bryn Terfel). This is achieved through diction, timbre, and with his deep sense of drama and theater, in short, more by subtlety and sensitivity than power. For however grand and powerful the voice, it does not harm in any way the alchemy of the music: but the enthusiasts of spectacular vocal skill will find much more than that in this release, for this is first and foremost a recording by an artist. The introspection of Prince Igor or King René is captivating. Everything here is control and concentration — and that is where true power comes from. Sadko’s ballad is emblematic of a vocal and theatrical art of fervent intensity. Boris’ coronation scene is the touchstone of this recital. It is then that the dignity and nobility of incarnation takes hold, something languid that must soon break — truly great art.
Happily, however, he is not confined to the genre. Abrazakov is without rival in this repertory today, bringing to it a complex and appealing personality. The Kaunas Orchestra shows a fine, full quality.” —Sylvain Fort, Classica (translation by Dennis Adams)
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