Brian Asawa

Japanese American countertenor Brian Asawa studied music at UC Santa Cruz, UCLA and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The singer’s career was launched in 1991 when he became the first countertenor to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. After a two year association as a young artist with San Francisco Opera in 1991-92, he became the first countertenor to win Placido Domingo’s “Operalia” International Opera Competition (1994) and was chosen Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year (1996-97).

Future engagements include Prince Go-Go in Le Grand Macabre at the Liceu Barcelona with La Fura dels Baus, his debut as Ruggiero in Alcina at Opera de Lausanne and the title role in the world premiere of Marco Stroppa’s Re Orso at Opera Comique in Paris and La Monnaie in Brussels. Mr. Asawa has started a series of duo recitals with powerhouse lyric mezzo Diana Tash, and together they will be performing recitals and concerts in September and October this year with exciting artists Armen Gulelimian, pianist, Baroque cellist Josephine van Lier, harpsichordist Gilbert Martinez, and the Los Angeles Valley College orchestra (Maestro Michael Arshagouni) with repertoire ranging from Handel and Monteverdi to Rossini, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Gounod, Korngold, Heggie and Barber. Mr. Asawa and Miss Tash have also started a concert series in Los Angeles which promotes young emerging talent alongside more mature established artists.

Mr. Asawa’s discography includes solo recordings ranging from Elizabethan lute songs to song cycles by Ned Rorem, and appears on a duet disc with Emmanuelle Haim for Virgin Classics. Opera recordings include Farnace in Mitridate for Decca under the baton of Christophe Rousset, Arsamene in Serse for Conifer conducted by Nicholas McGegan and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Philips with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis.

Operatic highlights include appearances in opera houses worldwide such as: Seattle Opera; Metropolitan Opera; Bordeaux Opera; Opera Australia; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Paris Opera at Palais Garnier; Theatre de la Monnaie, Brussels; Netherlands Opera; Florida Grand Opera; Madrid’s Teatro Real; Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; New Israeli Opera; Hamburg Staatsoper; San Francisco Opera San Diego Opera Los Angeles Opera; Cologne Opera; Santa Fe Opera; Grand Théâtre de Genève; Glimmerglass Opera; Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Houston Grand Opera; Teatro di San Carlo Napoli; Opera di Roma; Adelaide Festival of Arts; Spoleto Festival; and Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires.

Also high in demand on the concert platform, recent highlights include; Seattle Symphony; Minnesota Orchestra; Boston’s Haydn and Handel festival; Washington Chorale; National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C.; Vienna Musikverein; Zurich Tonhalle; London Symphony Orchestra; Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach; Mann Center, Philadelphia; Vail Valley Music Festival; Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Canada; and, BBC Symphony Orchestra at Barbican Hall.

Brian has given solo recitals in Amsterdam, Brugge, Geneva, Bordeaux, NYC-Lincoln Center, Philadelphia, Concertgebouw, Brussels, Dresden, and in various venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Roles performed on stage include A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oberon, Death in Venice Voice of Apollo, Serse Arsamenes, Giulio Cesare LE GRAND MACABRE 2011Tolomeo and Sesto, Admeto, il re di Tessaglia Admeto, Rinaldo Rinaldo and Goffredo, Rodelinda Bertarido and Unulfo, Saul David, Tamerlano Andronico, Semele Athamas, Il Coronazione di Poppea Ottone and Nerone, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria Anfinomo, L’Orfeo La Speranza, La Calisto Endimione, L’Ormindo Mirinda, L’Olympiade Licida, Orfeo ed Euridice Orfeo, Ascanio in Alba Ascanio, Mitridate, il re di Ponto Farnace, Tancredi Tancredi, Boris Gudonov Fyodor, Die Fledermaus Orlofsky, The Rake’s Progress Baba the Turk, Tri Sestri Masha, Angels in America Belize and Mr Lies (both by Peter Eotvos), and Hans Werner Henze’s Das Verratene Meer Nummer Zwei.

His concert repertoire includes Bach (Cantata No. 70 Wachet, Betet, seid bereit allezeit, Cantata No. 53, Schlage doch, gewuenschte Stunde, Mass in B-Minor, St. Matthew Passion), Mozart Requiem, Sally Beamish (Knot Grass Elegy), Leonard Bernstein (Chichester Psalms, Missa Brevis), Brahms (Requiem, Op. 45), Handel (Jephta (Didymus), Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Saul (David), Semele (Athamas) Jephte (Hamor), Haydn (Mass in D-Minor), Pergolesi (Stabat Mater), Purcell (Come ye Sons of Art), Scarlatti (Stabat Mater, Cantata-Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede, Cantata-Cessate, omai cessate, Cantatas, Clori vezzosa, e bella, Ferma omai, Nel silenzio commune, Non so qual qui m’imgombre, O pace del mio cor, Piango, sospiro e peno), Vivaldi (Filiae maestae Jerusalem (Introduzione al Miserere), Gloria, Stabat Mater).

Extract from Brian Asawa’s Website


Francisco Vas and Brian Asawa have performed together in: