Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

This May, in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we want to highlight the incredible artistry of several AAPI singers, composers and artists in our community, who are all hard at work creating a more inclusive and equitable future for the art form we all love. Recently, we sat down with a few AAPI members of the MN Opera family to talk about how their AAPI identities have impacted their opera careers and what they would like to see change in the opera industry with regard to AAPI representation.

We’d also like to cap off this month of celebration by reaffirming our solidarity with the movement to #StopAsianHate and by uplifting the vital and exciting work that several AAPI arts and civic organizations are doing here in Minnesota. Thank you for your support of MN Opera and the Minnesota AAPI community!


Panel Discussion

Minnesota Opera, in collaboration with Theater Mu, recently presented a panel discussion dealing with the historical, current and future representations of Asian peoples and their stories within theater and Opera.

Rick Shiomi

Rick Shiomi is a founding member and currently a co-artistic director of Full Circle Theater, as well as a co-founder of Theater Mu, where he was the artistic director from 1993-2013. Mr. Shiomi will be directing our upcoming production of The Song Poet.

Corissa Bussian

Corissa Bussian is a soprano who has sung in the Minnesota Opera Chorus for 8 seasons and also performs around the Twin Cities with other local companies and ensembles including An Opera Theatre, Lakes Area Music Festival, OOPS MN, and Theater Mu.

Ritika Ganguly

Ritika Ganguly, PhD., is a Minneapolis-based composer, anthropologist, and grants consultant, born and raised in New Delhi, India. Her consulting practice and artistic practice both strive for an equality based on difference, rather than on the similarity of things, people, and knowledges. She was commissioned to create a mini opera in Bangla called Xylem by the Minnesota Opera in 2021 as part of our MNiatures program.

Roshan Ganu

Roshan Ganu is a mixed media storyteller and comic artist originally from Goa, India, now based in Minneapolis. She has conceptualized and art directed stories for the Minneapolis Institute of Art and co-created the mini-opera, Xylem, as part of MN Opera’s MNiatures cohort of 2020-21.

Asako Hirabayashi

Asako Hirabayashi is an award winning harpsichordist, recording artist and composer, who has appeared as a featured guest soloist in international festivals and concert series worldwide since her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall. Recently she composed the mini-opera, Dear America, Beat Your Heart Defiantly, Naked and Open with Love, as a part of MN Opera’s MNiatures program.

Brian Vu

Described by The New York Times as having an “ample and pleasing tone,” tenor Brian Vu is an exciting performer recognized for his vocal and dramatic abilities. After a return engagement at the Metropolitan Opera, in the spring of 2022, Mr. Vu will make his Dallas Opera debut, singing Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly. Future engagements include his debut in a joint production between LA Opera and Opera Omaha and, hopefully, a return to MN Opera.

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