ASITHA TENNEKOON

Tenor

BIOGRAPHY

Since moving to Toronto in the fall of 2014 Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon has quickly established himself as a versatile singer and actor. Asitha won the Dora Award for Best Male Performance in Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse Winner capturing critical acclaim. Robert 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.”  As Gernando in Haydn’s L’Isola disabitata in is debut with Voicebox: Opera in Concert, he was “possessed of luxurious lyricism and gentle italianate tone…. Clearly an artist on the fast track to stardom, a singer gifted with a brilliant, incandescent instrument and appealing stage manners.”  (Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto)

 

Asitha begins the 2017/18 season in ‘A Song for All Seasons’, a joint recital with soprano Erin Wall, in the Songmasters Recital Series, at the Royal Conservatory of Music. In 2018, Asitha makes his role and company debut as Polidoro in performances of Scarlatti’s Ernani with Opera Lafayette in Washington DC and New York City and joins the cast in the world premiere of The Overcoat (libretto by director Morris Panych, James Rolfe, composer) in a co-production with Tapestry Opera, Canadian Stage Company and Vancouver Opera.

 

Recent engagements for this sought-after tenor include Marchese in Glenn Gould School’s production of Piccinni’s La Cecchina, and Harry Ben in Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate with Opera 5,  leading Definitely the Opera to declare “if I had to pick a dramatic standout among the principals it would have to be Asitha Tennekoon,  who has a gift for physical comedy rarely found among opera singers. His smooth tenor all the while never wavered.” Other opera credits in Canada include performances with Stratford Summer Music Festival, The Indian River Festival, MY Opera and Bicycle Opera Project.

 

As a concert soloist he has been praised as a “bright, nicely resonant tenor... with expression and sensitive phrasing” (Joseph So, Musical Toronto) and recently debuted as the tenor soloist in Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with the Tafelmusik Chamber Orchestra and Choir. His concert credits include performances with The Theatre of Early Music, Toronto Bach Festival, Toronto Classical Singers, London Pro Musica, and Village Voices. Frequently performed repertoire includes J.S. Bach’s Johannes-Passione (Evangelist and arias), the Monteverdi Vespers, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

 

During his formative years in the USA Tennekoon was a featured soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Choir, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra.

 

Asitha studied Vocal Performance at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. In Toronto he completed the Artist Diploma Program at the Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also holds Licentiate Diplomas in Voice and Piano from the Trinity College of Music, London, and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London.

2017 DORA AWARD – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE, MALE, OPERA DIVISION –
   ROCKING HORSE WINNER (TAPESTRY/SCOTTISH OPERA)

2016 IRCPA "SONDRA RADVANOVSKY ENCOUNTER" –
   ERMANNO MAURO SCHOLARSHIP WINNER

As Harry Benn in The Boatswain's Mate

"Tenor ringing, Tennekoon launches into Harry’s rolling aria, When rocked on the billows, that roughest of pillows, splashing the catchy tune over an altogether captivated audience with salty abandon."

Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

 

 

 

SELECTED ROLES

Don Ottavio | Don Giovanni

Oronte  | Alcina

Tamino | Die Zauberflöte

SELECTED REPERTOIRE

Handel | Messiah

Mozart | Requiem

Bach | St John Passion

PRESS KIT

HEADSHOTS

DOCUMENTS

Updated Sep 2017

Ernesto Ramirez, Tenor

ARTIST CONNECTIONS

RESUME

Opera

2017

Gernando (L’Isola disabitata)

Marchese (La Cecchina)

Harry Ben (Boatswain’s Mate)

2016

Paul (Rocking Horse Winner)

Oronte (Alcina)

2015

Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

Paris (La Belle Hélène)

Bénédict (Béatrice et Bénédict)

2014

Lyric Tenor (Postcard From Morocco)

2012

Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni)

Albert Herring (Albert Herring)

2010

Tamino (Die Zauberflöte)

Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor)

Odoardo (Ariodante)

Le Doyen (Cendrillon)

Gaston (La Traviata)

 

Haydn

Piccinni

Smyth

 

Gareth Williams

Handel

 

Mozart

Mozart

Offenbach

Berlioz

 

Argento

 

Mozart

Britten

 

Mozart

Donizetti

Handel

Massenet

Verdi

 

Voicebox:Opera in Concert

Glenn Gould School

Opera 5, Toronto

 

Tapestry Opera

Glenn Gould School, Toronto

 

Indian River Festival, PEI

Stratford Summer Music Festival

Glenn Gould School

MY Opera, Toronto

 

Glenn Gould School

 

Indiana University

Indiana University

 

Bay View Festival, Michigan

Indiana University

Princeton Festival

Indiana University

Indiana University

 

Mozart

 

Schütz

Bach

Charpentier

Handel

 

Bach

Handel

Handel

Handel

 

Bach

Schubert

 

Bach

Britten

Kuhnau

Mozart

Schelle

 

Charpentier

Bach

Handel

Monteverdi

Rachmaninov

Schütz

V. Williams

 

Bach

 

Schubert

 

Bach

 

Mozart

 

Tafelmusik, Toronto

 

Four Centuries of Bach, Toronto

Talisker Players, Toronto

Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute

Toronto Classical Singers

 

Toronto Classical Singers

London Pro Musica, London ON

Village Voices, Markham

Durham Community Choir, Oshawa

 

Indiana University

Indiana University

 

Columbus Indiana Philharmonic

Indiana University

Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra

Columbus Indiana Philharmonic

Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra

 

Indiana University

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Indiana University

Indianapolis Symphonic Choir

Indiana University

Indiana University

Boris Brott Festival, Hamilton

Bloomington Bach Cantata Project/
St. James Cathedral, Toronto

Indiana University

 

Camerata Musica Chamber Choir, Sri Lanka

 

Camerata Musica Chamber Choir

*Excerpts

Oratorio & Concert

2017

Mass in C minor

2016

Johannes-Passion (Evangelist)

Johannes-Passione

Salve Regina

Messiah

2015

Weihnachts-Oratorium*

Messiah

Messiah

Messiah

2012

Magnificat in D

Mass No.2 in G

2011

Johannes-Passione (Evangelist)

The World Of The Spirit

Wie schön leuchtet...

Requiem

Wie schön leuchtet...

2010

Te Deum

Weihnachts-Oratorium*

Messiah

Vespers (1610)

All Night Vigil

Weinachtshistorie (Evangelist)

Mass in G minor

2009-16

Cantatas BWV 1, 44, 55, 116, 123, 139 & 147

2009

Mass No.5 in A flat

2007

Magnificat in D

2006

Mass in C (Coronation Mass)

Accomplishments

AWARDS

2016 | IRCPA "Sondra Radvanovsky Encounter" – Ermanno Mauro Scholarship Winner

 

EDUCATION

2014–16 | Artist Diploma – Royal Conservatory of Music, Glenn Gould School, Toronto

2012 | Bahelor's Degree in Vocal Performance – Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music

2005 | Licentiate Diploma in Voice & Piano – Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London

2004 | Licentiate Diploma in Voice & Piano – Trinity College of Music, London

 

TEACHERS

Stephanie Bogle, Brian Horne, Jeffrey Picon

 

COACHES

Kevin Murphy, Nigel North Paul Elliott, Rachel Andrist, Jennifer Peterson

 

STAGE CRAFT

Tom Diamond, Carol Vaness, Sylvia McNair

 

MASTERCLASSES

Sondra Radvanovsky, Craig Rutenberg, Cameron Stowe, Sasha Cooke, Adrianne Pieczonka, Timothy Noble, Wolfgang Brendel,
Lawrence Brownlee

REVIEWS

As Harry Benn in Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain's Mate

“Tenor Asitha Tennekoon sings the role of Harry Benn... with his characteristc crystalline tenor. I could listen to him for days. Hot on the heels of his Dora Award nomination for last year's Rocking Horse Winner, Tennekoon is blossoming lately and each facet of his performance keeps getting better and better. We're all lucky to be here at this time of his career.”

Greg Finney, Schmopera

 

“Asitha Tennekoon plays washed up seafarer, Harry Benn, a scandalous rogue somehow rendered enormously likeable in this skilled singer actor’s hands... Tenor ringing, Tennekoon launches into Harry’s rolling aria, When rocked on the billows, that roughest of pillows, splashing the catchy tune over an altogether captivated audience with salty abandon.”

Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto

 

“Asitha Tennekoon as the hapless boatswain once again turned in a fine dramatic and musical performance. His clear bright tenor has become something of a fixture in the Toronto indie scene and it’s easy to see why.”

John Gilks, Opera Ramblings

 

“If I had to pick a dramatic standout among the principals, it would be tenor Asitha Tennekoon who has a gift for

physical comedy rarely found among opera singers. His smooth tenor all the while never wavered. ”

Definitely the Opera

 

As Paul in Rocking Horse Winner with Tapestry Opera –

“Asitha Tennekoon’s fresh and free lyrical tenor voice was a delight to the ears, and perfect for the role earnest, single-minded Paul. As Paul journeyed from hope to despair, darker, weightier colours crept into Tennekoon’s tone, making every note of Paul’s heartbreaking music visceral to the listener. I was actually on the edge of my seat during his

performance of the aria that I am going to name ‘Gets There’, where we learn of his mystical ability.”

Keira Grant, Mooney on Theatre

 

“The surprise of the night was Asitha Tennekoon....his silky, emotional presence on stage – both vocally and dramatically – gave the show a powerful focus.”

Robert Harris, The Globe & Mail

 

 

“Tennekoon is a revelation. His beautiful leggiero tenor was perfect.... [his acting] was endearing, truthful, and raw. Coupled with his flawless singing, you couldn't have asked for any more - on any stage - anywhere.”

Gregory Finney, Schmopera.com

 

“...bright, nicely resonant tenor... with expression and sensitive phrasing”

Joseph So, Musical Toronto

 

As the Evangelist in St. Mark Passion with Toronto Bach Festival –

“His mastery of the drama in the Evangelist’s story-telling matched his vocal clarity and superb musicianship.”

David Richards, TorontoConcertReviews.ca

 

As The Marchese in La Cecchina with the Glenn Gould School  –

The Marchese, perhaps the role that requires the most varied virtuosity, went to recent graduate (and rising star) Asitha Tennekoon. His rather beautiful lyric tenor was well suited to the music and he was convincing in portraying his character.”

John Gilks, Opera Ramblings

As Gernando in L'isola disabitata with Voicebox: Opera in Concert –

“Possessed of luxurious lyricism and gentle Italianate tone, tenor Asitha Tennekoon contributed a gloriously sung principal turn as Gernando. No stranger to Toronto indie opera stages, this is clearly an artist on the fast track to stardom, a singer gifted with a brilliant, incandescent instrument and appealing stage manners. His was an abundantly plausible hero more fretful than swashbuckling, as anxious a romantic navigator as ever sailed the Seven Seas.”

Ian Ritchie, Opera Going Toronto