Amplified Opera Launches Opening Season This October

By David Salazar

Toronto-based Amplified Opera has unveiled its inaugural season.

The company, which was co-founded by Aria Umezawa and Teiya Kasahara will be showcasing three concerts on consecutive nights in mid-October at the Ernest Balmer Studio in Toronto, Canada. Each event will be a lecture-recital with a talk-back panel between artists, guest speakers, and audience members with the intention of unpacking the complex issues addressed in each performance.

“We believe that the operatic medium can be progressive and inclusive, and can be used to frame dialogue around social change.” stated Umezawa in a press release. “AO is committed to producing works that exemplify truth, awe, and rebellion. With this concert series, we hope to rethink the recital format, and create a space that allows the audience to engage with challenging or new topics.”

The season opens with “The Way I See It” featuring mezzo-soprano and author Laurie Rubin alongside pianist Liz Upchurch. They will relate their unique experience as individuals with blindness and loss vision in the world of opera. The concert will be directed by Umezawa.

Performance Date: Oct. 10, 2019 

Next up is “The Queen in Me,” a concert featuring soprano Teiya Kasahara as the Queen of the Night while exploring how classical music has often tried to control and limit queerness, gender expressions, and identities. Andrea Donaldson will direct with Trevor Chartrand accompanying.

Performance Date: Oct. 11, 2019

Finally, the company will take a look at African diaspora in “What’s Known To Me Is Endless” with a performance featuring baritone Kenneth Overton and pianist Rich Coburn. The event will be directed by Michael Mohammed.

Performance Date: Oct. 12, 2019