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Brian Asawa

Biography

Born: 1966  
Brian Asawa became one of the world's leading countertenors before he was 30 years of age. He is known for his wide choice of roles and for a uniquely dark sound for his voice range. Asawa is an American of Japanese ancestry, brought up in Los Angeles. He became interested in music at an early age and took piano lessons. He began his collegiate studies as a piano major at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he sang in the choir as a Read more tenor. It was during this time that Asawa made the transition to the countertenor voice range, carefully pursuing studies with Harlan Hokin, Virginia Fox, and Jane Randolph. He traveled to San Francisco, where he joined the Merola Opera program of the San Francisco Opera Program, the West Coast's leading training ground for young vocal artists. He was invited back as an Adler Fellow for 1991 -- 1992. His debut role was in Henze's Das Verratene Meer, soon followed by the role of Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Meanwhile, he had become the first countertenor ever to win the Metropolitan Opera Auditions (1991), and in 1994 he won the Plácido Domingo International Operalia Competition. He has sung in numerous European houses, mostly in earlier operas. These include the roles of Farnace in Mozart's Mitridate; Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare, Arsamene in Serse, and Polinesse in Ariodante (all by Handel); and in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria and L'Incoronazione di Poppea. He also sings some so-called "pants" roles intended for female singers, such as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. In addition to several opera recordings (including Midsummer Night's Dream, Mitridate, and Serse), he has released solo CD albums of sixteenth century songs ("The Dark is My Delight") and Romantic-era songs ("Vocalise," which includes Rachmaninov's eponymous work as well as Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5). He is considered one of the leading exponents of a newer approach to the countertenor voice, stressing emotion and individual tone quality, as opposed to the pure "uncolored" voice long in vogue among early music practitioners. Read less
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Davis, Mcnair, Asawa
Release Date: 11/19/1996   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 454122   Number of Discs: 2
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Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria / Wilson, Asawa, Johnson, Araya
Release Date: 10/18/2005   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 927   Number of Discs: 2
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Monteverdi: Il Ritorno D'ulisse In Patria / Asawa, Rolfe Johnson, Spence
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 927   Number of Discs: 2
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Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Davis, Mcnair, Asawa, Lloyd, Bostridge
Release Date: 03/13/2012   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001651502   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-20 of 20 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Opus Arte Monteverdi DVD 3-Pack
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4987 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Liang Ning,  Brigitte Baileys,  Michael Chance,  Cynthia Haymon  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Glen Wilson,  Stephen Stubbs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques,  Concerto Palatino,  Tragicomedia
    On sale! $89.99
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  • 2.
    Spirits Of The Air / Brian Asawa, Diana Tash
    Label: Lml Music   Catalog: 281 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Scarlatti,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Diana Tash,  Brian Asawa,  Arthur Omura,  Frederic Rosselet
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  • 3.
    Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Davis, Mcnair, Asawa, Lloyd, Bostridge
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001651502 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Sara Rey,  Brian Asawa,  Mark Tucker,  Carl Ferguson  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  New London Children's Choir
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  • 4.
    Best Handel 50
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 70822 Release Date: 05/03/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Jane Gilchrist,  Philippe Jaroussky,  Joyce DiDonato,  Max Emanuel Cencic  ... 
    Conductor:  Kirk Trevor,  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Alan Curtis,  Diego Fasolis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco,  I Barocchisti,  Seminario Musicale
    CD: $11.99
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  • 5.
    Le Messie - Un Film de William Klein / Minkowski
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459615 Release Date: 07/06/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Russel Smythe,  Lynne Dawson,  John Mark Ainsley,  Brian Bannatyne-Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 6.
    Altus - From Castrato To Countertenor
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 35476 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Paul A. Martini,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin,  Suzie LeBlanc,  Gérard Lesne,  David Daniels  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Gérard Lesne,  Moses Hogan,  David Hill  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Teatro Lirico,  Seminario Musicale,  Moses Hogan Singers  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 7.
    Monteverdi: Il Ritorno D'ulisse In Patria / Asawa, Rolfe Johnson, Spence
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 927 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Toby Spence,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Graciela Araya,  Christopher Gillett  ... 
    Conductor:  Glen Wilson
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  • 8.
    Monteverdi Cycle - Poppea, Ulisse, L'Orfeo
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 972 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Harry Van der Kamp,  Michael Chance,  Cynthia Haymon,  Brigitte Balleys  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset,  Glen Wilson,  David Porcelijn,  Stephen Stubbs
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Opera Baroque Orchestra,  Les Talens Lyriques,  Netherlands Opera Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $129.99
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  • 9.
    1+1  Handel: Judas Maccabaeus / Mcgegan, De Mey, Et Al
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2907374 Release Date: 08/08/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Lisa Saffer,  Patricia Spence,  Guy de Mey,  David Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berkeley Chamber Chorus,  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress / Hagegård, Hendricks, Salonen
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 2853 Release Date: 03/28/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Brian Asawa,  Greg Fedderly,  Barbara Hendricks,  Håkan Hagegård  ... 
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Chorus,  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Monteverdi: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria / Wilson, Asawa, Johnson, Araya
    Label: Opus Arte   Catalog: 927 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Christopher Gillett,  Graciela Araya,  Brian Asawa,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson  ... 
    Conductor:  Glen Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Opera Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 12.
    Handel: Arcadian Duets / Dessay, Gens, Asawa, Haim, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics Veritas   Catalog: 45524 Release Date: 11/05/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Emmanuelle Haïm,  Atsushi Sakai,  Paul Agnew,  Patricia Petibon  ... 
    Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
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  • 13.
    Handel: Messiah / Minkowski, Les Musiciens Du Louvre
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 471341 Release Date: 10/01/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Charlotte Hellekant,  Lynne Dawson,  Russel Smythe,  Magdalena Kozená  ... 
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre,  Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 14.
    Rorem: More Than a Day / Asawa, Kahane, Los Angeles CO
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63512 Release Date: 06/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ned Rorem
    Performer:  Brian Asawa
    Conductor:  Jeffrey Kahane
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Scarlatti: Cantatas Vol Iii / Mcgegan, Asawa, Et Al
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 51325 Release Date: 04/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alessandro Scarlatti
    Performer:  Brian Asawa
    Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arcadian Academy
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  • 16.
    The Faces Of Love - The Songs Of Jake Heggie
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63484 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jake Heggie,  Daniel Emmett
    Performer:  Jennifer Larmore,  Emil Miland,  Jake Heggie,  Sylvia McNair  ... 
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  • 17.
    Mozart: Mitridate / Rousset, Bartoli, Dessay, Piau, Florez
    Label: L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog: 460772 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli,  Giuseppe Sabbatini,  Sandrine Piau,  Juan Diego Flórez  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
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  • 18.
    Vocalise / Brian Asawa, Neville Marriner, Asmf
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68903 Release Date: 03/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Medtner,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Gabriel Fauré,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Brian Asawa
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 19.
    Brian Asawa - The Dark Is My Delight, Etc / David Tayler
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68818 Release Date: 10/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Thomas Campion,  John Dowland
    Performer:  Brian Asawa,  David Tayler
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Davis, Mcnair, Asawa
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454122 Release Date: 11/19/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Brian Asawa,  Robert Lloyd,  Ian Bostridge,  David Newman  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New London Children's Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
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