Brian Asawa


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 1-8 of 8 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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: $15.99
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  • 6.
    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
    DVD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Mozart: Mitridate / Rousset, Bartoli, Dessay, Piau, Florez
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 460772 Release Date: 04/13/1999   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Giuseppe Sabbatini,  Cecilia Bartoli,  Juan Diego Flórez  ... 
    Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
    On sale! $33.98
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