Arts·Queer Pride Inside

High above Toronto, soprano Teiya Kasahara performs an epic 'callout to the opera industry'

As part of the virtual cabaret Queer Pride Inside, Kasahara shows why they are a true treasure.

As part of the virtual cabaret Queer Pride Inside, Kasahara shows why they are a true treasure

CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret was a virtual cabaret featuring over a dozen LGBTQ Canadian artists that CBC Arts produced in partnership with Buddies in Bad Times this past June in celebration of Pride Month. Over the course of the summer, we'll be highlighting some of the individual performances that were included in the cabaret. 

Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 is a true treasure of our queer world, and it was an absolute honour for us to have them included in CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret. A queer, gender non-binary, multidisciplinary performer and creator, Kasahara comes from a background of over a decade of singing both traditional and contemporary operatic roles across North America and Europe. They were most recently praised as "a force of nature" by the Toronto Star and "an artist with extraordinary things to say" by The Globe and Mail.

Kasahara combines opera, theatre and taiko in their artistic practice and co-founded Amplified Opera, a new initiative which is bringing an injection of inclusivity to Toronto's opera community, with their recent inaugural concert series AMPLIFY highlighting stories of international equity-seeking artists.

Teiya Kasahara 笠原貞野 is a queer, gender non-binary, multi-disciplinary performer/creator and first-generation Nikkei-Canadian settler. (Photo by Tallulah)

Teiya's original work The Queen in Me is planned to premiere in Toronto once theatres reopen following the COVID-19 global pandemic, and it was an except from that show that they performed for Queer Pride Inside — from a Toronto rooftop, no less. In the performance, Kasahara takes inspiration from their career in opera, alongside their lived experience as a queer, biracial, non-binary artist, to re-imagine the Queen of the Night, one of opera's most infamous fallen women. They also took the opportunity to address unrest both in the operatic community and the world in general. 

"We are in a critical time right now," Teiya says as they introduce the piece. "It would be remiss of me to not use this platform to especially call out the systemic racism and violence by Black and Indigenous friends and colleagues face every day in the operatic community and in their lives at large. This excerpt from The Queen In Me is my callout to the opera industry and the world."

Watch the performance above, and learn more about Teiya Kasahara here

See CBC Arts Presents Queer Pride Inside: A Buddies in Bad Times Cabaret in its entirety on CBC Gem.

Teiya Kasahara in Queer Pride Inside. (CBC Arts)


Peter Knegt (he/him) has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and spearheading the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2020s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films and the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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