Lyric Opera’s Richard Ollarsaba Performs Sunday, October 9 – Opera at Barrington’s White House

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Praised for his poise, power, and his commanding stentorian tone, bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba will perform a full vocal opera recital on Sunday, October 9, at 3 p.m. at Barrington’s White House.

Ollarsaba appeared in Lyric stage productions of Othello, Madame Butterfly, Parsifal, Tosca, Der Rosenkavalier and Don Giovanni – where he stepped in last minute to sign the title role last fall. Ollarsaba had only four hours to prepare himself to “cover” for Don Giovanni star Mariusz Kwiecien.

“That was an amazing experience,” the 29-year-old Ollarsaba said.

The Tempe, Arizona, native credits much of his composure to the training and practice he received through the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center. Established in 1974 as the professional-artist-development program for Lyric Opera of Chicago, only a handful of artists are chosen each year from more than 400 applicants. Ensemble members are in residence, receiving advanced instruction in voice, language and acting, and master classes with some of opera’s most renowned artists. They also perform and understudy a variety of roles.

“It gives young singers like myself the chance to be fostered and nurtured in the environment of a professional opera company, especially one on the scale of Lyric,” Ollarsaba said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Storytelling, he says, is the backbone to keeping or growing audiences.

“(The Lyric) is trying to get people who don’t normally come to the opera,” he said. “We are trying to convey to people that this is relevant and viable. We’re telling stories of the human condition that were just as relevant 200 years ago. We still have these emotions, these wonderful pieces of what I call ‘audible art’ is our way of trying to tell our human journey and our emotional story that everyone can relate to.”

Selections Sunday will include works from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Bizet’s Carmen. Ollarsaba will be accompanied at the piano by Matthew Gemmill, a Chicagoland pianist, accompanist and vocal coach. General admission is $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Other upcoming Barrington White House performances include Jazz Pizazz on Oct. 22, It’s Wonderful Life: The Radio Play on Nov. 20, Lakeside Singers Holiday performance on Nov. 20 and the Barrington High School Madrigals Holiday Concert on Dec. 18. To purchase tickets, please visit: For questions, please call 224-512-4284.

Barrington’s White House gratefully acknowledges our cultural events season sponsors, without whose generosity our series would not be possible: Barrington School District 220, BMO Harris Bank and BMO Wealth Management, Kim Duchossois, and The Northern Trust Company. Events are coordinated by the Barrington Cultural Commission.


Barrington’s White House is a unique, historic venue located in the heart of downtown Barrington at 145 West Main Street. This meticulously restored 1898 mansion hosts cultural and community events, and is also available for rental for weddings, corporate meetings, non-profit fundraisers and family celebrations. Visit the web site or call 224-512-4292 for your private tour.