Q & A With Measha Brueggergosman, Opera Luminary-Turned-Reality TV Judge

The world-renowned opera singer and upcoming "Canada's Got Talent" judge reveals her own hidden talents and her undying love for Canadian designers

Photo by Citytv

At the opening ceremony for last year’s Winter Games in Vancouver, famed soprano Measha Brueggergosman stunned 3.2 billion TV viewers with her pitch-perfect rendition of the Olympic Hymn. The Juno-winning and Grammy-nominated Fredericton native is one of the country’s most prodigious talents, so it seems only fitting that she’s a judge on the upcoming reality competition “Canada’s Got Talent” (a homegrown version of the popular British and American TV shows). In between tapings – looking every inch the opera diva with a glittering silver gown, dramatic eye makeup, and a truly formidable afro – she took a break to chat with FLARE about her new gig. 

FLARE: What are some of the more ridiculous talents you’ve seen in auditions so far? 

Measha Brueggergosman: Vancouver was an interesting town. We saw acts like a contortionist painter with a soul-singer sidekick, a fire-breathing opera singer, and a ventriloquist unicycling juggler. Either Vancouverites love to multitask, or they have a hankering for new artistic genres – some of which were successful, some not so much. But even when we see acts that are atrocious, the people are not. What has been really great about travelling this country is that there seems to be this foundational level of respect for both the forum of Canada’s Got Talent and the fact that we’re all very good-humoured. 

FLARE: As a judge, would you say that you’re a Simon, a Paula, or a Steven Tyler? 

MB: It depends on the contestant. It can be painful to say no to someone who really wants it, but I have to keep in mind that saying yes to someone who pleads with us is taking the position from someone else who is crazy talented. The delusional are always the most upset about being sent home, because they’ve been living with this fallacy for so long that they literally think they have a talent that deserves to be triumphed from the mountaintops. And we’ve got the responsibility, I think, to either give them something to work on or let them know that it’s either not appropriate for the show – or not appropriate, period. 

FLARE: Do you have any talents besides opera singing? 

MB: Some of my bikram yoga postures are pretty impressive, but I rarely break those out unless I’ve had a few and feel like showing off. Also, when a championship eater contestant came onstage, I said to him, “That’s exactly how I eat in my head.” 

FLARE: You wore a knockout DSquared gown to the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony last year. Who are some of your favourite designers? 

MB: I will not buy anything I have to iron. But sometimes if there’s an intricate gown that requires maintenance – by Farley Chatto or Rosemarie Umetsu, for instance – it’s worth it. When you’re at Carnegie or Roy Thompson Hall, you have to wear a gown that people can see all the way at the back. I only wear Canadian designers onstage and on camera: I love Izzy Camilleri, Garter & Asp, and Pink Tartan. I love Wayne Clark, all that kind of grand, ceremonial, feather work that he does. We have such a wealth of designers. -Allison Friedman