Asawa’s emotional and interpretive commitment was beyond question. His voice shook with emotion in Scarlatti’s “Se tu della mia morte” (If you by this strong right hand), and ended Handel’s “Sparite, o pensieri (Begone, o thoughts) from Admeto in a deeply moving, gorgeous manner.
San Francisco Classical Voice (Jason Victor Serinus)
The varied program had showcased Asawa’s youthfully bright voice, fine technique and impressive range. Asawa doesn’t just stand and sing; he instills each of his selections with a veteran stage actor’s ability to convey a song’s emotional climate and unique character.
Huffington Post (Rodney Punt)
How gratifying to find the countertenor Brian Asawa in excellent voice as the nurse Belize (and others).
Musical America (David Mermelstein)
The countertenor Brian Asawa was sympathetic as flamboyant black nurse Belize, and as the homeless woman.
Los Angeles Times (Mark Swed)
Countertenor Brian Asawa, a San Francisco Opera Veteran making his West Edge debut, sang the title role (Vera in Vera of Las Vegas) with stylistic allure and an air of bruised sensuality.
San Francisco Classical Voice (Georgia Rowe)
The title role (Vera in Vera of Las Vegas) is riotously played by the great countertenor Brian Asawa, a casting coup for the company. Asawa is an imperious figure and enjoys himself enormously through the hour-long performance.
El Cerrito Patch (Caroline Crawford)
Again, great direction, acting and singing from Brian Asawa in the title role (Vera in Vera of Las Vegas) (he moves very well in a dress and heels, better than I would, in fact).
Lisa Hirsch’s Classical Music Blog (Lisa Hirsch)
Brian Asawa in full sweet voice as the countertenor Prince Go-Go.
Buenos Aires Herald (Pablo Bardin)
With a remarkably high level of performances (and among them) we single out the singing of Chris Merritt as Piet the Pot, and one of the most notable countertenors Brian Asawa as Go-Go. (Diego Fischerman)
Fortunately there was Brian Asawa in absolute top form and he filled the highest expectations.
Orpheus Oper International (Basia Jaworski and Jordi Koiman)
Brian Asawa … demonstrated how beautiful countertenor can be. He combined the beautiful sound of Crowe with styleful phrasing of Derek Lee Ragin, and added a substantial portion of joy of singing. For instance in the Händel’s aria “Dove sei, amato bene?” he drew beautiful and enchanting lines above the warm and sorrowful sounds of the ensemble. In a comparable manner he made the sorrow of the duet “Son nata a lagrimar” from Giulio Cesare heard and felt. Crowe sounded much more subtile in this duet, in a way that their sounds mixed beautifully and there phrasing joined seemlessly.
Place de l’Opera (Jordi Kooiman)
Other parts were impressively taken by Scott Scully, Julia Migenes, Omar Ebrahim, Janice Hall, Brian Asawa and Ava Pine, all required to multi-task, as in the play.
London Evening Standard (Barry Millington)
…….for All roles, except the main protagonist Prior Walter, are doubled in the opera, too, Anderson and Ebrahim sing Ghosts of Plagues past, but Brian Asawa stands out. He sings no major role but a variety of subsidiaries, yet brings such assertiveness to them that they register well. His bright countertenor, these days mellowing lower in the range, extends Kushner’s ambiguity into the music.
Opera Today (Anne Ozorio)
……..countertenor Brian Asawa brought real conviction to the very different roles of Belize/Mr. Lies…. (Stephen Graham)
Top-notch performances also came from Scott Scully, Omar Ebrahim, Janice Hall, Ava Pine and Brian Asawa. Now, please, a full production from ENO..
The Times (Richard Morrison)
…….the radiant Brian Asawa was the nearest I’ve heard to a soprano castrato.
Financial Times (Andrew Clark)
…Prince Go-Go, the embodiment of petulance, given lustrous, clarion voice by countertenor Brian Asawa..
Adelaide Advertiser (Ewart Shaw)
The cast is exceptionally strong, especially Brian Asawa as the nar-cissistic gold-suited Prince Go-Go, and Susanna Andersson as the manic Gepopo, chief of the secret police.
The Australian (Graham Strahle)
Brian Asawa as Prince Go-Go and Susanna Andersson (Venus and Gepopo) provide the most effective vocal performances…
Sydney Morning Herald (Peter McCallum)
The countertenor Brian Asawa was in splendid form as the sissified Prince Go-Go…
The New York Times (George Loomis)
…the irresistable Brian Asawa, countertenor al dente as Prince Go-Go also quite the dancer
Le Monde (Marie-Aude Roux)
The chief merit of the staging, along with Franc Aleu’s staggeringly inventive and beautiful video work, is that you find yourself chuckling about it the morning after, not least a side-splitting disco scene to a pastiche of a bourrée where Prince Go-Go (Brian Asawa, superb) struts his stuff in a silver lamé suit.
Financial Times (Francis Carlin)
Countertenor Brian Asawa enriches his interpretation of the infantile Prince GoGo with a hint of melancholy: sorrow about not being able to prevent the downfall of Breughelland, his slightly bizarre Kingdom…
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Christian Wildhagen)
…Countertenor Brian Asawa does brilliantly interpreting an immature Prince Go-Go
…Mescalina, a role entrusted to the soprano Nin Liang, and Brian Asawa, counter tenor who is the incarnation of an immature Prince Go-Go, both are amazing
Les Echos, (Michel Parouty)
…and the excellent countertenor Brian Asawa did a brilliant job in his interpretation of Prince Go-Go
La Libre, (Martine D. Mergeay)
Additionally, the other roles were first-class, particularly/specifically Werner van Mechelen as Varlaam and the countertenor Brian Asawa as Feodor.
Orpheus (Basia Jaworski)
…There was good casting throughout with Vladimir Vaneev sonorously as Pimen, John Daszak as Grigori and Brian Asawa as Feodor.
Trouw (Peter van der Lint)
It is hard to equal Tomlinson’s performance, but the tenor Chris Merritt positioned himself well as villainious Bojaar Shuisky; the countertenor Brian Asawa and the soprano Marina Zyatkova also gave colour to their children’s parts.
De Volkskrant (Bela Luttmer)
As in the Boris of 2001, the title role is sung by the British bass John Tomlinson. His vocal performance is again convincing. Equally convincing are the mercurial timbre of Russian soprano Marina Zyatkova as Xenia and the voice of Brian Asawa (Feodor).
Algemeen Dagblad (Oswin Schneeweisz)
…Chris Merritt is again eerily credible as Shuisky, Brian Asawa moving as Fjodor…
NRC Handelsblad (Mischa Spel)
Asawa was great fun as the androgynous Tolomeo, singing with firm tone and assurance. The countertenor brought uninhibited panache to the decadent villain role in his sashaying about the stage and incestuous tussles with Cleopatra, even giving Partridge a resonant spank that could be heard in the balcony.
Miami Herald (Lawrence A. Johnson)
…Brian Asawa, who already sang the role in the Scala, the Met, Covent Garden and Paris, creates the most cunning, deceitful and lustful Tolomeo. With his firm staccato in his arias and a fine example of legato in the recitativos he sings fascinatingly though all registers from top to bottom like the role demands.
Ik Hou Van Theater (Mark Duijnstee)
The event of the evening, however, was the appearance of male soprano Brian Asawa, fresh from his performances with Seattle Opera as the villain in Handel’s “Guilio Cesare.” A dramatic and compelling singer, he brought considerable presence as well as superb technique and musicianship to arias from the opera “L’Olimpiade” and cantata “Cessate, omni cessate,” both by Vivaldi.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer (Philippa Kiraly)
Countertenor Brian Asawa as Tolomeo, Cleopatra’s brother and rival, sang with accuracy and passion.
Seattle Herald (Mike Murray)
Countertenor Brian Asawa brought a delightfully sneering malevolence to his bratty, belly-thrusting, pharaonic Tolomeo. (Tom, Amazon earworm)
….of her conniving brother Tolomeo (countertenor Brian Asawa, in top form both vocally and dramatically).
The Seattle Times (Melinda Bargreen)
…are few more lyrical high male voices around, and Asawa’s pure, clear countertenor projected well…. He brought agility, crisp articulation and a poised lyrical line to the Handel pieces, hurling furious thunderbolts in an aria from Vivaldi’s “L’Olimpiade.
No matter what language he is singing, Asawa cares about getting the words across and he brought a particularly keen attention to textual nuance in the Dowland pieces. What’s more, he rose to the full-throated climax of Schubert’s “Ganymed” without disturbing his smooth tonal finish.
Chicago Tribune
Asawa possesses a voice of arresting beauty and all the fioratura finesse to make his a remarkable performance. As if that were not enough, he’s an excellent actor who obviously relishes his character’s petulance and machinations.
La Jolla Village News (Giulio Cesare performance)
…The role of the mean Ptolemy, Cleopatra’s brother, is brilliantly sung by the Japanese-American countertenor Brian Asawa. With his da capo virtuoses, his impeccable sharp and deep sonorous notes and a strong, well-driven line, Asawa confers to his personage all the necessary worry. His very original interpretation … according to Opera News, has earned him many successes in this role, notably in Paris, Barcelona and New York. He also sang Sesto in 2002 with the Canadian Opera Company of Toronto…
Forum Opera (Giulio Cesare performance)
…the strength and clarity of his high-pitched singing contributed to the quality of the production from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which was staged with lively assurance…
San Diego Union-Tribune (Giulio Cesare performance)
…And Asawa has never been in better form. If he feels threatened at all by the increasing countertenor hoard, he must be channeling that emotion into singing and acting like a house on fire.
Opera West (Giulio Cesare performance)
Here were thrills galore … the surging drama of Brian Asawa’s riveting alto solos…
Seattle Times (Messiah performance)
Asawa’s expressive sound and graceful ornamentation made … one of the evening’s highlights.
Minneapolis Star Tribune (Messiah performance)
Brian Asawa was a standout, his voice an instrument of great power that filled the stone sanctuary.
St. Paul Pioneer Press (Messiah performance)
Brian Asawa can deploy the silky velvet of his timbre to express the charm of the inconstant prince Licida and to assert himself as the star…
Forum Opéra, Paris (L’Olimpiade performance)