What a treat to watch opera sensation Measha Brueggergosman perform at the Recital Hall in the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre! Her debut marks the Bravo Niagara! music festival launch of their the 2019-20 season.
A graduate of the University of Toronto’s music program, she moved to Germany for intensive training. She won Juno Awards, was nominated for a Grammy, sang to a telecast of over three billion viewers at the opening of the 2010 Olympic Games, and soloed in the great concert halls of Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe.
This evening, she sang spirituals, cabaret, multicultural and show songs, accompanied on a few occasions by Chorus Niagara’s Youth Choir led by Artistic Director, Amanda Nelli. The kids were fantastic! Jennifer Tung was exceptional on the piano. Measha dramatically ended the program with a wonderful rendition of Richard Rogers’ “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” with the youth choir, and she returned for an inspiring encore with the American Negro spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
After the concert, Measha joined Mark Wigmore on stage for a brief Q&A. Wigmore is host of The Oasis at The New Classical 96.3FM radio station. She talked openly about her cardiac issues, displaying a sense of humor and commitment to her faith. She also lamented the recent death of Jessye Norman, the American soprano who brought a sumptuous, shimmering voice to a broad range of roles at the Metropolitan Opera and houses around the world.
During the 2017 season, Brueggergosman anchored the “Voices of Freedom series,” celebrating Canada’s Black history. The Bravo Niagara! Voices of Freedom Festival returns November 7-9th with jazz piano legend Monty Alexander and his Harlem-Kingston Express and an opening performance by Grammy-winning Larnell Lewis Band (Snarky Puppy) and special guest Bakithi Kumalo November 8 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This will be Monty Alexander’s first appearance in the Niagara Region.
The season continues Nov. 30 with a rare Niagara appearance by cellist Ofra Harnoy, a Member of the Order of Canada and five-time Juno winner. And after a two-and-half-month break, the season resumes Feb. 14 with a Valentine’s Day show by Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling. The festival’s Spring into Music series starts March 15 with a return visit from classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic, followed by the Ontario debut of the Brubeck Brothers Quartet’s Dave Brubeck Centennial celebration April 5.
The festival’s final weekend features “From Broadway, With Love” on May 2, with singers Jason Forbach, Siri Howard and Joseph Spieldenner. It’s followed May 3 with virtuoso musicians Cho-Liang Lin (violin) and Jon Kimura Parker (piano). Lin will be playing his 1715 “Titian” Stradivarius.
More info is available here: http://www.bravoniagara.org/vof2019
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