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)
Asitha considers himself very fortunate to have had opportunities to make music this past year with the interruption of live performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 a featured performer in Tapestry Opera’s Box Concerts initiative, which took live music to outdoor spaces in Toronto and the GTA, often to outdoor spaces servicing frontline workers and care home residents.
In December 2020 he played the role of The Knave of Hearts in a filming of Elizabeth Raum’s The Garden of Alice with Pacific Opera Victoria. In the early part of 2021 he participated in a workshop for a new work, Namwayut (“We are all one” – Kwak’wala) with Calgary Opera, where he was on an Indigenous-led team of artists exploring new, generative paths of opera creation.
In addition to his work as a performer, Asitha is also a co-founder of Amplified Opera (AO), a new indie opera company based in Toronto that seeks to place artists at the centre of public discourse. As part of his work with AO Asitha continues to participate in online residencies, lead webinars and workshops. 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.