Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has quickly established himself as one of Canada’s most impressive and versatile singing artists. He drew critical acclaim as Paul in Tapestry Opera/Scottish Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner, receiving the 2016 Dora Award for Best Male Performance. Of his performance, Richard Harris of the Globe and Mail wrote, “The surprise of the night was Asitha Tennekoon…..his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally and dramatically – gave the show a powerful focus.” For his performance in the 2019 world premiere of Shanawdithit (Nolan/Burry) with Tapestry Opera, Ian Ritchie of Opera Going Toronto wrote: “Tennekoon’s savage depiction of vicious racist magistrate and merchant John Peyton is nothing less than harrowing.”
Asitha’s operatic highlights include performances with Opéra de Montréal, Tapestry Opera, Against the Grain Theatre, Vancouver Opera, Soundstreams Canada, Opera on the Avalon, Opera 5, and Opera Lafayette (USA).
On the concert stage Asitha is known for performing a wide variety of repertoire, from the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions to premiering new works. Concert highlights include engagements with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Ottawa Choral Society, Toronto Bach Festival, and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Asitha considers himself very fortunate to have had opportunities to make music this past year despite the interruption to live performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and looks forward to the return to the stage soon as Ferrando in Edmonton Opera’s Cosi fan Tutte.
In May 2020 he reprised his performance as Paul in Tapestry Opera’s album recording of Rocking Horse Winner (Available on Bandcamp). Throughout the summer and fall of 2020 Asitha was one of two featured performers of Tapestry Opera’s Box Concerts initiative, which brought live music to outdoor spaces in Toronto and the GTA, often to outdoor spaces servicing frontline workers and care home residents.
Asitha recently played the role of The Knave of Hearts in a filming of Elizabeth Raum’s The Garden of Alice with Pacific Opera Victoria. In February 2021 he participated in Calgary Opera’s workshop of Namwayut with an Indigenous-led team of artists exploring new, generative paths of opera creation.
In addition to his artistic abilities, this year Asitha has taken and administrative role as a co-founder of Amplified Opera (AO), the Toronto -based Indie opera company that seeks to place artists at the centre of public discourse. As part of his work with AO, Asitha participates in online residencies, and leads webinars and mentorship sessions. He continues to advocate for meaningful change in the industry through AO’s two – year residency as Disruptor-In-Residence at the Canadian Opera Company.