Measha Brueggergosman (b Gosman). Soprano, b Fredericton 28 June 1977; B MUS (Toronto) 1999, honorary D MUS (Acadia) 2009, honorary D LITT (St Thomas) 2009. Brueggergosman began singing in the choir of her local Baptist church, and with the director of that choir, studied piano and voice from age seven. As a teen, she took voice lessons in Fredericton with Mabel Doak and spent summers on scholarships at the Boston Conservatory.
She studied for one year with New Brunswick soprano Wendy Nielsen before studying with Mary Morrison at the University of Toronto (1995-9). In her last year there, she played Madame Lidoine in the university's production of Dialogues des Carmélites, and at a masterclass caught the attention of Edith Wiens, with whom she pursued a master's degree in music at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf, Germany.
At age 20 Measha Brueggergosman created a signature lead role in the premiere of the opera Beatrice Chancy by James Rolfe. Produced in Toronto in 1998, and in Nova Scotia in 1999, the opera portrayed the tale of a slave girl in 19th-century rural Nova Scotia who murdered her abusive father and master. The opera and Brueggergosman won praise from critics and audiences, and in 2000 it was filmed for CBC-TV.
Her career rapidly gained momentum, and her charisma, dramatic ability, mature musicianship and powerful voice have placed her in demand both in concert and on the operatic stage. She has appeared throughout Canada, and has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and at Roy Thomson Hall. She has also sung for Queen Elizabeth II (2002), in the US at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall (2001), and in London at Royal Albert Hall (2003).
Brueggergosman's repertoire also expanded quickly; it includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 9; Britten's War Requiem; Dvorak's Te Deum; Janàček's Glagolitic Mass; Penderecki's Credo; Strausss Vier Letzte Lieder; Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder; and Verdi's Requiem, which she has performed in Germany with Helmuth Rilling (2001), in Ottawa (2001), in Toronto (2002-3), and in London (2003-4). In 2002 she was featured in Cincinnati Opera productions of Elektra, Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, and Turandot. In addition, she has continued to develop her concert repertoire, often combining songs by Schumann, Ravel, Duparc, and Gershwin with her own arrangements of black spirituals. In 2003-4 she performed in recitals in Vancouver, Ottawa, Quebec, and Helsinki, and made debuts at festivals in Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and in Germany, Norway, and Edinburgh.
Awards and Honours
Brueggergosman has been the recipient of a number of national and international awards, including prizes at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London (2001); Jeunesses MusicalesMontreal International Competition (2002); Oslo's Queen Sonja International Music Competition (2003); and the ARD Music Competition (Munich, 2003). In 2002-3 she was awarded the prestigious Canada Council and Chalmers Performing Arts grants. Brueggergosman was featured in the CBC-TV documentary Spirit in Her Voice (2003). She sang on the Grammy-winning William Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and of Experience (2004, Naxos), and won a 2008 Juno award for the album Surprise (Deutsche Grammophon, 2007).