Teiya Kasahara from Amplified Opera
Teiya Kasahara in The Queen In Me, 2019 produced by Amplified Opera. Photo: Tallulah

Announcing their first edition of a new program, Amplified Opera has been named the Disruptor-in-Residence for the January 2021 Canadian Opera Company (COC) Academy.

The new program is a two-year residency that offers resources and support for emerging opera companies during their start-up period to help them become fully fledged organizations. It aims to increase equity, diversity and inclusivity within the arts through training and workshops that promote community engagement and digital content creation.

The New Disruptor-in-Residence, Amplified Opera
Performing artists Teiya Kasahara, Marion Newman, Asitha Tennekoon and stage director Aria Umezawa, the founders of Amplified Opera that were announced as COC’s new Disruptor-in-Residence. Photo: Janet Kimber, Howard J. Davis, Dahlia Katz, and Hayley Andoff Photography

“We are proud to support emerging opera creators through our COC Academy. As a national performing arts organization, it is our responsibility to boost the voices of those that regularly challenge artistic norms [and] practices,” says Christie Darville, COC Deputy General Director.

Co-founded by performing artists Teiya KasaharaMarion Newman, Asitha Tennekoon and stage director Aria Umezawa, Amplified is a Toronto-based opera company that launched in 2019. Their first performance was AMPLIFY, a series of concerts, recitals and panels that focused on stories of blindness, gender expectations within opera, and the differences in Black identity in the U.S. and Canada.

Aria Umezawa from Amplified Opera
Aria Umezawa at San Francisco Opera Lab Pop-Up, 2017. Photo: Kristen Loken

“Amplified Opera places artists at the centre of public discourse. We are pushing to decolonize how we create and share opera by welcoming and including the voices of creators and opera fans in all aspects of the performance,” says Kasahara.

The company’s goal is to dedicate their productions to rethinking common creative practices and creating inclusive paths for communities in the entire performing arts industry.

“In less than two years, the team at Amplified Opera has already carved a name for themselves as creators with a bold artistic vision and understanding of opera as a means for social change. Their work invites important conversations about representation and inclusivity, within the industry and beyond, and we are just as keen to learn from them as our Disruptor-in-Residence as we are to lend guidance and mentorship in their path forward,” says Nina Draganić, Director of the COC Academy.

Members of the Amplified Opera team are set to host the COC in Conversation: Gender and Opera digital roundtable on Mar. 5, 2021.