The Kennedy Center

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 the San Francisco Opera in 1991-92, he became the first countertenor to win the Placido Domingo “Operalia” International Opera Competition (1994) and was chosen Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year (1996-97).

The 2000-01 season began with a return to San Francisco Opera as Athamas in Semele , and he recently made his Zurich Tonhalle debut in concerts of the Handel Messiah and his Italian debut as Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. Most recently, he made his Vara radio debut as the Voice of Apollo in Britten's A Death in Venice at the Concertgebouw, gave solo recitals at Bordeaux Opera and for Les Musiciennes du Louvre in Grenoble, essayed Fyodor in Boris Godunov to high acclaim at Netherlands Opera, and recorded and performed virtuosic Handel duos with Juanita Lascarro and Emmanuelle Haim in France and Colombia.

Former operatic season highlights include Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at San Francisco Opera, Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare at Metropolitan Opera, Bordeaux, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Paris Opera, Arsamene in Serse at Los Angeles, Cologne, Seattle and Geneva, Admeto in Admeto at Sydney, Montpellier and Halle, Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress at San Francisco and for Swedish television, Endimione in La Calisto in Brussels, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream at San Francisco, Houston, London Symphony Orchestra and Lyon), Ascanio in Ascanio in Alba at the Lincoln Center, Farnace in Mitridate at Opera National de Lyon and Paris Opera, Nero in L'Incoronazione de Poppea in Sydney, Ottone in L'Incoronazione de Poppea at Glimmerglass in New York, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice, La Speranza in L'Orfeo and L'Umana Fragilita/Anfinomo in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria in the Netherlands, Sesto in Giulio Cesare at COC in Toronto, Handel's Messiah with the Deutsche Philharmonie Bremen and in the Vienna Musikverein, Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare at the Teatro Real Madrid and David in Saul at the Ruhr Triennale Recklinghaussen and the Bayerische Staatsoper, and most recently Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare at Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Asawa also gives many solo recitals including recent engagements at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Dresden Musikfestspiele and Concertgebouw Brugge.

Mr. Asawa's discography includes four solo recital discs ranging from Dowland and Campion to Rachmaninov and Ned Rorem. Opera recordings include Farnace in Mitridate for Decca, Arsamene in Serse for Conifer and Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream for Philips with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis.

Future engagements include Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare at the Liceu and San Diego Opera, Ottone in L'Incoronazione di Poppea at Hamburg State Opera, Fyodor in Boris Godunov at Gran Teatre del Liceu, Handel's Messiah with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Minnesota Orchestra and Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with the San Diego Opera.

February 2004
Brian Asawa