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
Browse 1-19 of 19 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! $44.99
    DVD: $37.49
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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
    On sale! $17.98
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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 [Countertenor Vocal] 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
    Recommendation
    On sale! $29.99
    DVD: $26.99
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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  ... 
    DVD: $128.99
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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
    On sale! $29.99
    DVD: $26.99
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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
    DVD: $13.99
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  • 12.
    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
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 13.
    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
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 14.
    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
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 15.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 16.
    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
    Recommendation
    On sale! $50.99
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  • 17.
    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
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    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
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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
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
"Over hill, over dale"
"Oberon is passing fell and wrath"
"Well, go thy way"
"How now my love?"
"Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull"
"Welcome wanderer!"
"Is all our company here?"
"Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood"
"Through the forest have I gone"
"Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius"
"Come, now a roundel and a fairy song"
"You spotted snakes with double tongue"
"What thou seest when thou dost wake"
Introduction: The wood
"Are we all met?"
"I see their knavery"
"Be kind and courteous to this gentleman"
"Hail, mortal, hail!"
"I have a reas'nable good ear in music"
"How now, mad spirit?"
"Flower of this purple dye"
"Puppet? Why so?"
"This is thy negligence"
"Up and down, up and down"
"On the ground, sleep sound"
"My gentle Robin, see'st thou this sweet sight?"
"Helena! Hermi! Demetrius! Lysander!"
"When my cue comes, call me"
"Have you sent to Bottom's house?"
"Now, fair Hippolyta"
"If we offend, it is with our good will"
"Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show"
"In this same interlude it doth befall"
"O grim-look'd night, O night with hue so black"
"O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans"
"You ladies, you whose gentle hearts do fear"
"This lanthorn doth the horned moon present"
"Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams"
"Asleep, my love?"
"Come, your Bergomask"
"Now the hungry lion roars"
Judas Maccabaeus: Overture: Grave - Allegro - Lentement - Allegro
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Chorus: Mourn, ye afflicted children
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: Well may your sorrows
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Duet: From this dread scene
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Chorus: For Sion lamentation make
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: Not vain is all this storm of grief
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: Pious orgies, pious airs
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Chorus: O Father, whose almighty pow'r
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: I feel the deity within
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: Arm, arm, ye brave! - Chorus: We come, we come
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: 'Tis well, my friends
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: Call forth thy pow'rs, my soul
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: To heav'n's Almighty king
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: O liberty, thou choicest treasure
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: Come, ever-smiling liberty
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: O Judas, may these noble views
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: 'Tis liberty, dear liberty alone
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Duet: Come, ever-smiling liberty
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Chorus: Lead on, lead on!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: So will'd my father
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Semi-chorus: Disdainful of danger
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Recit: Ambition!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Aria: No, no unhallow'd desire
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 1. Chorus: Hear us, O Lord
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Chorus: Fall'n is the foe
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Victorious hero!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: So rapid thy course is
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Oh let eternal honours
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: From mighty kings
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Duet & Chorus: Hail, hail, Judea
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Thanks to my brethren
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: How vain is man
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: O Judas, O my brethren!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria & Chorus: Ah! wretched Israel!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Be comforted
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: The Lord worketh wonders
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: My arms! Against this Gorgias
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: Sound an alarm! - Chorus: We hear the pleasing, dreadful call
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Enough! To Heav'n we leave the rest
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Aria: With pious hearts
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Recit: Ye worshippers of God
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 2. Duet & Chorus: Oh! never, never bow we down
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Aria: Father of Heav'n!
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: See, see yon flames
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: Oh grant it, Heav'n
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Aria: So shall the lute and harp awake
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: From Capharsalama
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Chorus of Youths: See, the conqu'ring hero comes - Duet: See the godlike youth - Chorus: See, the conqu'ring hero comes
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. March
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Duet & Chorus: Sing unto God
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: Sweet flow the strains
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Aria: With honour let desert be crown'd
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: Peace to my countrymen
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Chorus: To our great God be all the honour giv'n
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Recit: Again to earth
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Duet: O lovely peace
Judas Maccabaeus: Act 3. Aria & Chorus: Rejoice, O Judah!; Hallelujah! Amen
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act II, Recit: Well may we hope
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act II, Duet & Chorus: Sion now her head shall raise
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act II, Aria: Wise men, flatt'ring, may deceive us
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act I, Aria: Far brighter than the morning
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act II, Recit: Sweet are thy words
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act II, Aria: Great in wisdom, great in glory
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Recit: Not vain is all this storm of grief
Judas Maccabaeus: Appendix. Act I, Aria: Pious orgies, pious airs
Cantata IX - Conservate, raddoppiate HWV185: Conservate, raddoppiate
Handel: Cantata IX - Conservate, raddoppiate, HWV185: "Nodi voi, che gli stringeste"
Symphony
1. Accompagnato: Comfort ye, My people
2. Air: Ev'ry Valley shall be exalted
3. Chorus: And the glory of the Lord
4. Accompagnato: Thus saith the Lord
5. Air: "But who may abide the day of his coming"
6. Chorus: And He shall purify the sons of Levi
7. Recitative: Behold, a virgin shall conceive
8. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
9. Chorus: O thou that tellest good tidings
10. Accompagnato: For behold, darkness shall cover
11. Air: The people that walked in darkness
12. Chorus: "For Unto Us A Child Is Born"
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
14. Recitative: There were shepherds - Accompagnato: And lo, the angel of the Lord - Recitative: And the angel said unto them - Accompagnato: And suddenly
15. Chorus: Glory to God in the highest
16. Air: Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion
17a. Recitative: Then shall the eyes of the blind
18a. Duet: He Shall Feed His Flock
19. His yoke is easy
20. Behold the Lamb of God
21. Air: He was despised
22-24. Chorus: Surely He hath borne - And with His stripes - All we like sheep
25. Accompagnato: All they that see Him
26. Chorus: He trusted in God
27. Accompagnato: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
28. Arioso: Behold and see
29. Accompagnato: He was cut off
30. Aria: But thou didst not leave
31. Chorus: Lift up your heads
36. Air: How beautiful are the feet
38. Air: Why do the nations
39. Chorus: Let us break their bonds asunder
40. Recitativo: He that dwelleth - 41. Air: Thou shalt break them
42. Chorus: "Hallelujah"
43. Air: I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
44. Chorus: Since by man came death
45. Accompagnato: Behold, I tell you a mystery
46. Air: The trumpet shall sound
47. Recitative: Then shall be brought to pass / 48. Duet: O death where is thy sting?
49. Chorus: But thanks be to God
50. Air: If God be for us
51. Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb... Amen
"Over hill, over dale"
"Oberon is passing fell and wrath"
"Well, go thy way"
"How now my love?"
"Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull"
"Welcome wanderer!"
"Is all our company here?"
"Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood"
"Through the forest have I gone"
"Stay, though thou kill me, sweet Demetrius"
"Come, now a roundel and a fairy song"
"You spotted snakes with double tongue"
"What thou seest when thou dost wake"
Introduction: The wood
"Are we all met?"
"I see their knavery"
"Be kind and courteous to this gentleman"
"Hail, mortal, hail!"
"I have a reas'nable good ear in music"
"How now, mad spirit?"
"Flower of this purple dye"
"Puppet? Why so?"
"This is thy negligence"
"Up and down, up and down"
"On the ground, sleep sound"
"My gentle Robin, see'st thou this sweet sight?"
"Helena! Hermi! Demetrius! Lysander!"
"When my cue comes, call me"
"Have you sent to Bottom's house?"
"Now, fair Hippolyta"
"If we offend, it is with our good will"
"Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show"
"In this same interlude it doth befall"
"O grim-look'd night, O night with hue so black"
"O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans"
"You ladies, you whose gentle hearts do fear"
"This lanthorn doth the horned moon present"
"Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams"
"Asleep, my love?"
"Come, your Bergomask"
"Now the hungry lion roars"