Aria Umezawa is the Artistic Director of Toronto-based independent opera company, Opera 5, and the creator, director, and writer of the webseries “Opera Cheats”. Her staging of Poulenc’s “La voix humaine” took home the Capital City Critics Circle Critic’s Choice Award at the 2013 Ottawa Fringe Festival. She will be participating in the 2016 Merola Opera Program as the Apprentice Stage Director. As a lover of new and obscure operas, Aria has directed the Canadian premier of several works including New York-based composer, Milton Granger’s “Talk Opera”, Darren Russo’s “Storybook” (commissioned by Opera 5) which took home the 2015 SOCAN Foundation Grand Prize, and the North American premier of Cavalli’s “Artemisia” (Helios Opera, Boston). She has been praised for her irreverent, post-modern, wondrous and quirky visual style by online and print publications such as The Boston Globe, The Boston Pheonix, and Toronto’s Barcza Blog; her work has been featured in Metro News, Jezebel, and The Huffington Post, as well as on the social media pages of opera companies across North America.