Aber im Grunde gehörte der Abend dem Förster von Sergej Leiferkus, der als vorsichtiges Alter Ego Janáčeks den alten Mann gab, der seinen Fuchs nicht bekam. In Dauerpräsenz auf der Bühne beobachtete er das Treiben, das auch ohne ihn stattfand. Bitter wurde er nicht, er fügte sich drein. Verzweifelt, eine Spur auch gebrochen. Dieses psychologische Spiel im Spagat gelang dem russischen Bariton ebenso wie sein charaktervoller Gesang mit samtenem Timbre.
— Musik in Dresden
Sergei Leiferkus is considered one of the world’s most renowned performing artists. His ability to convey both nobility and evil makes him most noted for roles such as Scarpia in Tosca, Jago in Otello, Rangoni in Boris Godunov, Telramund in Lohengrin and Alberich in Der Ring des Nibelungen.
He has appeared at opera houses throughout the world, among them the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; the Vienna State Opera; the Opéra Bastille, Paris; La Scala, Milan; Deutsche Oper Berlin; San Francisco Opera; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Palau de les Arts, Valencia; Nederlandse Opera, Amsterdam; Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, and at the Edinburgh, Bregenz, Salzburg and Glyndebourne Festivals.
On the concert podium he has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras under conductors including Claudio Abbado, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, James Levine, Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Kent Nagano, Leonard Slatkin, Vladimir Jurovski, Kurt Masur and Sir Georg Solti.
Highlights of past seasons include his début as the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne in 2012, a role he later reprised in Dresden in 2014. His début in the title role of Boris Godounov followed at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, where he also sang the role of Scarpia in Tosca. These two roles he also sang in concert in London in early 2015. Further engagements followed, including Raskatov’s A Dog’s Heart at the Opéra de Lyon (where the role of Professor Filippovich was written especially for him); The Miserly Knight at La Monnaie in Brussels; his début at the Primorsky Theatre in Vladivostok singing the title role in Aleko; concert engagements in Darmstadt (Francesca da Rimini), Vladivostok (Babi Yar in Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony), Moscow, St. Petersburg and Philadelphia, as well as festival appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the Beethoven Festival in Warsaw, where he sang Don Pizarro.
More recent engagements include The Cunning Little Vixen, Guillaume Tell and Peter Eötvös’ Senza Sangue at the Hamburg State Opera; A Dog’s Heart in Amsterdam; The Marriage by Mussorgsky in Stuttgart; Songs and Dances of Death in Nürnberg and Siegfried and Goetterdaemmerung in Palermo. Sergei Leiferkus’ future engagements include two revivals at the Hamburg State Opera of Berg’s Lulu and Eötvös’ Senza Sangue.
Sergei Leiferkus’ repertoire includes almost fifty opera roles, among them Eugene Onegin, Mazeppa, Prince Igor, Ruprecht (The Fiery Angel), Nabucco, Macbeth, Simon Boccanegra, Amonasro, Jago, Don Giovanni, Telramund, Alberich and Klingsor. Almost one third of the singer’s repertoire comprises Russian music from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Sergei Leiferkus has recorded almost forty CDs. His first CD recording of songs by Mussorgsky received a Grammy nomination, while another recording of all of Mussorgsky’s songs (on four CDs) was awarded the Cannes Classical Award and the Diapason d’Or Prize in 1997. The catalogue of Sergei Leiferkus’ video recordings includes operas staged at the Mariinsky Theatre (Eugene Onegin and The Fiery Angel) and at Covent Garden (Prince Igor and Otello), three versions of The Queen of Spades (Mariinsky Theatre, Wiener Staatsoper and Glyndebourne) and Nabucco (Bregenz Festival). One of the most recent productions featuring Sergei Leiferkus has been acclaimed director Robert Wilson’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.
Besides his frequent appearances in opera, concert and recital, Sergei Leiferkus also gives master classes and teaches in Berlin, Toronto, Moscow and Boston, as well as at the renowned Britten-Pears School, Aldeburgh. Sergei Leiferkus holds a professorship at the Academy of Music in Łódź.