3 Surprising Roles in Ildebrando D’Arcangelo’s Repertoire

By David Salazar

Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, born on Dec. 14, 1969, is one of the world’s most renowned Italian bass-baritones.

Since his auspicious debut in the early 1990s, he has been a leading singer around the world, appearing at major opera houses under such conductors as Valery Gergiev, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Seiji Ozawa, among many others.

He’s become one of the Mozart singers of our time, dominating such works as “Don Giovanni” and “Le Nozze di Figaro” like few others have in recent years.

And yet he’s had time some operas you might not generally associate with him. Here’s a look at some of those works.

La Sonnambula

The bass-baritone has taken time to delve into the operas of Rossini, making a name for himself in “La Cenerentola,” “Il Barbiere di Siviglia (as Bartolo),” and other works. He is also a recognized Dulcamara in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” But Bellini? He hasn’t really delved much into this repertoire and seeing him as Count Rodolfo, which he recorded in 2009 is quite the rarity. He also performed “I Puritani” recently, cementing himself more and more in this kind of music.


Bel canto is one thing. Mozart another. French repertoire yet another. Baroque? We don’t often see this caliber of singers delve into the works of baroque composers. Especially not operas that are not by Handel. But in 2005, the bass-baritone took a leap of faith and worked alongside Fabio Biondi in this very opera in the title role.


D’Arcangelo has not been one to shy away from Verdi’s operas, singing the role of Banco in “Macbeth” or Fiesco in “Simon Boccanegra.” He appeared in the Requiem and he also did Ferrando in “Il Trovatore.” The common thread between them all? Smaller supporting characters in Verdi’s weight dramas. So to see him take on arguably the most challenging bass role written by the composer, next to Filippo in “Don Carlo” is quite surprising. Of course, D’Arcangelo can look to Samuel Ramey and Ferruccio Furlanetto, both Rossini singers that have turned into great Atilla interpreters, as precedents.


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