To my dear friend Brian Asawa (Oct. 1, 1966- April 18,2016)

To my dear friend Brian Asawa (Oct. 1, 1966- April 18,2016)

It has been a whole year since we lost you (far too soon). Your wit, smile, friendship, and talent are missed every day. Your late-night phone calls to inform me what role I MUST learn next always made me feel special, and how much you believed in me. You had an ability to make whoever you were talking to, whoever you were singing with, feel like the most important person to in the universe at that moment in time.

Beyond this, you had a talent that was beyond compare. My mother said that when she listened to us singing ‘Più amabile beltà’ from Giulio Cesare, she couldn’t tell where one of us stopped singing and the other began.

You were the first Japanese-American to win the Met Competition; headlining revivals of Handel and baroque pieces across the world; song cycles for you by Jake Heggie and Juliana Hall. Your accomplishments are too many to list.

I miss you. The entire opera world misses you.

Love, Kelli


For those of you reading this who may not have experienced Brian’s gift, please listen to this aria from Handel’s Rodelinda; Brian singing Handel was a wonder to behold.

Posted on: April 18, 2017Kelli Butler

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