In a time of grave uncertainty for opera, local indie collective, Amplified Opera, has taken a decisive organizational step forward, according to a press release yesterday, to further strengthen and extend its current artistic role.

Kwagiulth/Stò:lo, English/Irish/Scottish singer actor Marion Newman and Sri Lankan-Canadian tenor Asitha Tennekoon will join stage director Aria Umezawa and multi-disciplinary creator-performer Teiya Kasahara as co-founders of the newly expanded company noted for its venturesome musical programming emphasizing issues of concern to a broad sector of minorities.

“I am excited to share my experience as a mixed First Nations performer,” says Newman, “and finding ways of working that include cultural and lived knowledge so that all of our stories can be given the platform they deserve.”

“This idea of holding space for voices traditionally muted or misrepresented by opera and emboldening them to take control is fundamental to AO’s mandate,” adds Tennekoon. “I can’t overstate how much this approach resonates with my own hopes and aspirations for the art form.”

Launched in 2019, Amplified Opera is currently developing an extended version of Teiya Kasahara’s one-person show, The Queen in Me, an operatic re-imagining of the Queen of the Night as seen from a non-objectified point of view. The project is currently scheduled to preview later in 2021.