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By Patricia Boccadoro

PARIS, 4 NOVEMBER 2008 - "Surprise !", after a song of the same name by William Bolcom, is the title of the first album for Deutsche Grammophon made by the charismatic young Canadian soprano, Measha Brueggergosman, and it's a surprise in more ways than one. First, for those who have never heard her sing, there is the excitement of the discovery of her big lyric voice, rich, warm, and distinct from any other. Then, for those who have already heard her singing in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony*, for example, and think they know what to expect, there is the discovery of another Measha who dares to risk contemporary songs, with works by Schoenberg and Satie as well as Bolcom and written for cabaret rather than the more classical repertoire expected of her.

During her recital at the Theatre de L'Atelier in mid-October to introduce her debut album, she flirted with the world of music-hall, also including songs by Ravel, Poulenc, and Montsalvatge, singing in 4 different languages, being equally at ease in German, Spanish, English and French.

"I particularly wanted to sing in French for my first recital in Paris and share my joy of this music with my audience", she told me after the concert, her dark eyes sparkling with warmth and excitement. "I also love William Bolcom's songs and wanted to sing something in which I was totally at ease and completely myself. I think cabaret is a way of expressing oneself in a more casual context than opera. The nature of it is so very intimate. Moreover," she explained, "I think there are stories to be told through cabaret that are unique, tales that are like small snapshots of poetry that we wouldn't have access to otherwise. That's what attracts me to it."

The choice of music both on her recording and the recital, were, she insisted, absolutely her own.

The soprano, now 31, who continues to sing barefooted with her two feet planted firmly on the ground, has matured and gained a greater sophistication and assurance since her earlier appearances in Europe, at the Festival of Verbier, when, after taking master classes with Thomas Quasthoff, she was invited back the following year for a recital which included lieder and Gospel.

Since then, she has appeared in such prestigious venues as the Tanglewood Festival, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie's Recital Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony. Operatic debuts include appearances as Madame Lidoine in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, while this last year has seen her sing with the La Scala Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. French audiences will be happy to learn that after a North American recital tour in November and December, she will be returning to Paris towards the end of the year.

She will be singing Recital for Cathy , composed by Luciano Berio in 1972, for her appearance at the Cité de la Musique in Paris on Friday, November 28th.

* Measha Brueggergosman's orchestral debut recording on the Yellow Label, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Most was released last year.

Patricia Boccadoro is a senior editor at Culturekiosque.com

Surprise: Cabaret Songs Bolcom Satie & Schoenberg
Measha Brueggergosman, soprano
William Bolcom, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon CD 477 6589

Measha Brueggergosman's web site

CALENDAR TIPS: chosen by the editors as being of interest to Culturekiosque readers.


Cabaret Songs
Measha Brueggergosman, soprano
Justus Zeyen, piano

4 December 2008
Lothringerstrasse 20
A-1030 Vienna, Austria
Tel: (43) 1 242 002


Measha Brueggergosman, soprano
Ensemble intercontemporain
David Robertson, conductor
28 November 2008

Cité de la musique
Salle des concerts
221, avenue Jean Jaurès
75019 Paris
Tel: (33) 1 44 84 44 84

Related Culturekiosque Archives

Verbier Festival 2005: Interviews with Thomas Quasthoff and Measha Brueggergosman

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