Aria Umezawa is 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. A graduate of McGill University, she was an Apprentice Stage Director in the 2016 Merola Opera Program, where she staged the Merola Grand Finale concert. A lover of new and obscure operas, Umezawa directed the Canadian premiere of several works including 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 premiere of Cavalli’s Artemisia (Helios Opera, Boston). She has been praised for her irreverent, post-modern, imaginative and quirky visual style by online and print publications such as The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, San Francisco Chronicle, and Toronto’s Barcza Blog.