In Review: Zeniodi and Ollarsaba impress in NZ Opera's "Le nozze di Figaro"
"Figaro sung by Richard Ollarsaba performed with a rich controlled voice, his every gesture finely tuned. . .Galvanizing the whole performance was the glorious music which was delivered by the Auckland Philharmonia under the baton of the enthusiastic Zoe Zeniodi."
"It is a production well worth waiting for, as the refreshing direction and production and wonderful ensemble cast and a production that brought the masterpiece to life to a rare extent. . . Susanna (Joanna Foote) and Figaro (Richard Ollarsaba) were most charming as the central pair. . . Ollarsaba similarly played superbly off the other characters and sang with healthy resonance and smooth tone throughout, changing noticeably from jovial (if sometimes clueless) trickster to a deeper, sympathetic character in his angry scene in Act 4. . . Zoe Zeniodi led a largely speedy account of the score which matched the energy and verve of the cast. . . The musical highlights were the long finales of the second and fourth acts; Zeniodi tied together all of the musical threads easily, highlighting key individual vocal and instrumental details and bringing each of these to an exciting conclusion. Despite the rather dead acoustics of the Kiri te Kanawa Theatre, Mozart’s ravishing woodwind details were particularly brought to the fore."
"This version of the opera – despite being centred around Figaro and his marriage to the beautiful and desired Susanna – is led magnificently by its strong female characters, and this is mirrored on stage in the performances of the cast as well as being supported by the female dominated creative team. How invigorating to see conductor Zoe Zeniodi begin the evening with her spirited and enlightened interpretation of the score. . . Moving swiftly through Act I we are introduced to our lovers Figaro and Susanna, the playful chemistry between Richard Ollarsaba and soprano Joanna Foote a joy to watch." - Sarah Kidd – Ambient Light
"Ravishingly full of fun, the production was thoroughly engaging in every sense. Not only excellent casting, but also the design, the dramatic shaping, not to mention the enlivened orchestral sounds from Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra led with lightness by conductor Zoe Zeniodi. Lindy Hume director and Zeniodi created clear co-ordination between pit and stage. And with the extraordinary sets and costumes of Tracey Lord Grant and the lighting vision of Matthew Marshall, it was striking teamwork. . . And Mexican-American bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba’s Figaro was smooth as a fine dark-coloured tequila. . . A production of huge colour and life. And with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra so light on their feet under the sensitive leadership of conductor Zoe Zeniodi not to mention excellent harpsichord continuo from David Kelly, this was a team that brought their very best to this genius piece of Mozart."