Aria Umezawa Headshot


With her quirky, irreverent style, Aria Umezawa’s work evokes wonder and challenges the long-established traditions of opera and classical music. The stage director, producer, and writer is a co-founder of Amplified Opera, the independent, equity-seeking opera company and current Disruptor-in-Residence at the Canadian Opera Company. Aria was the Artistic Director of Opera 5 from 2012 to 2017. Aria completed two years as an Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, a position she earned after her San Francisco debut as a Merola Apprentice Stage Director. Aria has directed Christmas with SOL3 MIO with San Francisco Opera, Thomas’s Hamlet with West Edge Opera, and Poulenc’s La voix humaine with Against the Grain Theatre, the Canadian premieres of Milton Granger’s Talk Opera and Darren Russo’s Storybook (commissioned by Opera 5), and the North American premiere of Cavalli’s Artemisia with Boston’s Helios Opera. An advocate for safe, equitable practices in the opera and performing arts industries, Aria is in demand as a presenter and educator. In 2018, she developed Safe to Run: Bystander Intervention Training for the Rehearsal Room with Opera McGill and the San Francisco Opera Center and has run the workshop at opera companies across North America. That same year she was a speaker on the Gender Equity in Opera panel at the inaugural Opera Changing Worlds Education Summit. With OPERA America, Aria has presented on Anti-Harassment Policies and Stage Intimacy Techniques (2019) and Building a Healthier Company Culture for Artists (2020) and has contributed as a panelist on Managing the Challenges of the Inherited Repertoire (2020) and Breaking Down Gatekeeping (2021). She was an artistic consultant on a new co-production of Madama Butterfly with Opera in the Heights and Pacific Opera Projects.