Posted in: Concerts & Events, News, Reviews | 2 Comments | March 8, 2022
I admit it - I am an opera novice. Over the 30+ years of being in the retail music and movie business, my first hand experiences in the opera world are limited to seeing Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis in Toronto several times, watching a DVD performance of Madam Butterfly and selling the occasional opera CD or DVD. I say all this so you will read this review of Measha Brueggergosman’s performance at Imperial Theatre on March 6th with a grain of salt - I may sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about.
First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to good friend Holli G. for the gift of 2 front row tickets to see one of Canada’s, maybe the world’s, best know sopranos. We certainly are familiar with who Measha Brueggergosman is from her many appearances on TV including singing at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, to being on the Rick Mercer show to being a judge on Canada’s Got Talent, but to see her singing 12 feet in front of you is totally different and dare I say, mind blowing. Keep in mind, this lady has sung in front of royalty, world leaders of every kind and performed with famous orchestras from all corners of the globe - and here she is - in Sarnia Ontario!
Without introduction of any kind, she confidently took her place at centre stage in front of the beautiful Imperial Theatre Yamaha grand piano and began to sing the first of three segments, each by a different composer. Selections by Joaquin Turina, Johannes Brahms and Maruice Ravel were all totally unfamiliar to either Roland or me. Again remember, we are novices, but after speaking to the ladies seated beside us (hi Judy M.), we realized we were not alone in our unfamiliarity. After each segment, Ms. Bruggergosman and her pianist would take a deep bow and leave the stage to loud applause only to appear a few minutes later to another round of applause.
Watching her closely, I noticed the many facial expressions she was making. Not a single one of the eleven pieces she sang were in English, but because of her very expressive face, the emotions of the pieces were clearly conveyed to us. Despite this being more of a recital than a operatic play, we were being told stories through song and she was the lead actress.
Early on, we noted several interesting facts. She was barefoot and she had no microphone. I wondered if those in the balcony could hear her as well as we could in the front row. I was informed that yes indeed they could. Not only does she have a strong, clear voice, but, opera singers are trained to project their voice. Along with the fact the Imperial Theatre has amazing acoustics I am sure those upstairs heard every note and enunciation of words as well as we did. Not sure why she was barefoot. Perhaps just more comfortable for her - so why not. The other physical fact I noticed besides her beauty, was her scar. In 2009, Ms Bruggergosman underwent emergency open heart surgery leaving her with a long scar on her chest. Since she was wearing a flowing gown with a V neckline, the scar was clearly visible. To me, personally, that scar was a reminder to appreciate our lives and to make the best of our talents while we can, because you never know when it might be taken away.
After the intermission, the song selections were completely different in style. Again, the choices were by three different composers, this time being more contemporary. Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington and Joni Mitchell. She did make a joke referring to the fact we would understand the words now since they were all in English - much less difficult. Despite knowing we understood the words, her enthusiasm and facial expressiveness continued to carry us all on an emotional journey.
My favourite piece of the evening was her version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’. I felt she must have a very strong connection to that song. It was filled with an extra shot of emotion that literally brought a tear to my eyes. It is a beautiful piece, but on this night, it was magical.
Measha Brueggergosman is just one of the many diverse performers the Imperial Theatre has brought to Sarnia this past year. Keep on eye on our EVENTS listing to see what else is coming soon at the jewel of our downtown cultural district or go to www.imperialtheatre.net
Excellent review. You saw one of the best on your introduction to opera. Glad to hear you enjoyed the show.
Good job on your opera blog. Enjoyed spending the evening with you, Roland and Judy. Measha and Christopher were magnificent.
Leave a Reply