Bass-Baritone Richard Ollarsaba
ROLES PREPARED AND/OR PERFORMED:
Alidoro – La cenerentola
Angelotti – Tosca
Asdrubale – La pietra del paragone
Biterolf – Tannhäuser
Colline – La bohème
Count Almaviva – Le nozze di Figaro
Don Giovanni – Don Giovanni
Enrico VIII – Anna Bolena
Escamillo – Carmen
Figaro – Le nozze di Figaro
Haushoffmeister – Capriccio
Publio – La clemenza di Tito
Raimondo – Lucia di Lammermoor
Rev. John Hale – The Crucible
Schaunard – La bohème
ROLES IN PREPARATION AND/OR CONSIDERATION:
Belcore – L’elisir d’amore
Elijah – Elijah
Enrico – Lucia di Lammermoor
Mercutio – Roméo et Juliette
Papageno – Die Zauberflöte
Sharpless – Madama Butterfly
Mexican-American bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba, praised by The Washington Post for his “meltingly smooth bass-baritone” and for “evoking a young Ruggero Raimondi in looks and manner”, represented the USA in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, was a member of the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago for three seasons, and a grand finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
This season he debuts with the Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Portland Opera as Escamillo in their respective productions of Bizet’s Carmen. He will also debut with Chicago Opera Theater in the world-premiere opera The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing composed by Justine F. Chen, and will return to the role of the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Knoxville Opera. On the concert stage, he will be seen as the bass soloist in performances of Messiah with the Palm Beach Symphony, Pulcinella with the Salisbury Symphony and returning to The Master Chorale of South Florida for performances of Verdi’s Requiem.
Making several debuts in the 2021/22 season, he debuted with New Zealand Opera as Figaro in their national touring production of Le nozze di Figaro, Opera Grand Rapids and Opera Carolina in the title role of Don Giovanni, the Jacksonville Symphony in their performances of Puccini’s La bohème in his role debut as Schaunard, the Palm Beach Symphony as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and returned to Virginia Opera as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
Recent season credits include a debut in the title role of Don Giovanni with Opera Hong Kong, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Minnesota Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Kentucky Opera, Minnesota Opera, North Carolina Opera, Tulsa Opera, Annapolis Opera, and the Barhabor Music Festival. He has been a repeat featured soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, notably in performances of Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Handel’s Messiah.
While at the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, his tenure included productions of La Traviata, Capriccio, Anna Bolena, Tosca, The Passenger, Otello, Madama Butterfly, Parsifal and the title role in Don Giovanni – stepping into the iconic part with a few hours’ notice. Other operatic engagements include Asdrubale in Rossini’s La pietra del paragone, Fallito in Gassmann’s L’opera seria, Angelotti in Tosca, and Luciano in Musto’s Bastianello with Wolf Trap Opera; the title role in Don Giovanni with Intermountain Opera Bozeman; Timur in Turandot and Rochefort in Anna Bolena with Minnesota Opera; Ferrando in Il trovatore with North Carolina Opera, Colline in La bohème and Reverend John Hale in Ward’s The Crucible with Piedmont Opera, Pistola in Falstaff with Opera Omaha, and Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Cleveland.
In addition to performances on the operatic stage, Mr. Ollarsaba appears regularly in concert and recital. He has been the bass soloist with the Mainly Mozart Festival in a rare performance of Mozart’s Thamos, König in Ägypten, Handel’s Messiah with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, and Kansas City Symphony, Bach’s St. John’s Passion with the Madison Bach Musicians, Dvorak’s Te Deum with Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Bernstein’s Songfest at the Ravinia Festival, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Master Chorale of South Florida and Macon Symphony Orchestra, Verdi’s Requiem with the Salisbury Symphony, and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy in his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. That concert was a gala celebration of the venerable festival’s 75th birthday and was telecast nationally on PBS.
A native of Tempe, Arizona, Richard Ollarsaba received his Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Master of Music and post-graduate certificate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In addition to the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, he trained at Minnesota Opera, Music Academy of the West, Chautauqua Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood, and Wolf Trap Opera.