Asako Tamura as Amalia in Sarasota Opera’s production of Verdi’s “I Masnadieri”

In celebration of its 24th year, the Aurora Foundation welcomes world-renowned soprano Asako Tamura on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2:30 p.m. for the “24th Anniversary Aurora Benefit Concert in L.A. featuring Asako Tamura.”

Asako Tamura

Venue: Aratani Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo. Tickets: $20, $40, $100. Reservations:

A native of Kyoto, Tamura has appeared with opera companies worldwide. She recently made her debut in London at the Royal Albert Hall in “Madam Butterfly” (Cio-Cio San) to rapturous reviews from the London critics.

Her extensive performance credits include appearances in “Lucia di Lammermoor” (Lucia) with the Hungarian State Opera (Budapest), “Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese” (Sicily), Teatro Lirico di Cagliari (Sardinia), and Opera Constanza (Romania); Verdi’s “I Masnadieri” (Amalia) with the Sarasota Opera (Florida); “La Traviata” (Violetta) with the El Paso Opera (Texas); female leads in Leoni’s “L’Oracolo” and Montemezzi’s “L’Incantesimo” at the Avery Fisher Hall with Teatro Grattacielo (New York); “L’Ottavia” at the Scarlatti Festival in Tokyo; Donatoni’s “Alfred, Alfred” (Arlene) at the Contemporanea Arena di Verona; “Rigoletto” (Gilda) and “Romeo et Juliette” (Juliette) with the Hungarian State Opera ; and Cio-Cio San with the Teatro Solis (Uruguay).

Asako Tamura as Cio-Cio San in “Madam Butterfly.”

Her many appearances in orchestral concerts around the world include The Three Tenors (Domingo, Pavarotti, Carreras) in Yokohama, the New York Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, L.A. Symphony, Opera Ai Fori Gala Concert Orchestra (Rome), Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Upcoming performances include “La Traviata” (Violetta) with the Kalamazoo Symphony (Michigan) in September and Cio-Cio San at the Sarasota Opera in October/November. Info:

With an eye toward the future of global peace, and a deep passion for contributing to a better world for young educators, the Aurora Japanese Language Scholarship Foundation was established in 1998 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization by Dr. Akiko Agishi, who serves as its president

JLSF Scholarships: The primary goal of the scholarships is to encourage teachers of Japanese language teachers or graduate students of Japanese language education, to experience living in Japan and further their understanding of the Japanese language, improve their teaching abilities, and enrich their appreciation of Japanese culture. All their future students will share in the benefits realized from these scholarships.

Aurora Challenge Grant: Awarded to a U.S. citizen who resides in California and has a unique dream, in any field of endeavor, related to Japanese culture and that would never be realized without traveling to Japan. The award goes to an individual with a creative dream or challenge that if fulfilled, would contribute to global goodwill and intercultural appreciation. By awarding this grant, the Aurora Foundation hopes to help the winner enhance the pursuit of their truest, most heartfelt dream by providing them with the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Through this experience, and by furthering the pursuit of their dream projects, the recipients continue to gain and share a better understanding of Japan.

High School Speech Contest: To encourage the younger generation, the Aurora Foundation holds a speech contest for non-native Japanese speaking high school students in the U.S., in association with American Association of Teachers of Japanese and the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles. The winner is invited to take part in the Oversea Japanese Speech Contest held every summer in Japan.

To date, the Aurora Foundation has bestowed scholarships and grants to 91 recipients.

In 2009, the foundation started the Japanese Culture and Language Program, designed to give an introduction to selected aspects of the Japanese culture and useful language relevant to the culture. Participants were encouraged to explore their own cultural heritage in comparison to the Japanese culture and language.

The Aurora Foundation holds several fundraising events throughout the year, including the Japanese Film Screening and the Charity Golf Classic in the spring, and the Award Dinner and Benefit Concert in the fall. Net proceeds fund the foundation’s scholarship programs and Aurora Endowment Fund. They have become signature events locally, and the foundation is proud to be part of the Japanese American community in Southern California.

It is the foundation’s goal that the learning experience attained by the scholarship recipients and the support generated through fundraising events will positively affect the mainstream U.S. and will enhance goodwill between the U.S. and Japan. Info:,

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