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Measha Brueggergosman (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Measha Brueggergosman (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

DRAWN OFF TOPIC

Soprano Measha Brueggergosman on spring Add to ...

Juno-winning soprano Measha Brueggergosman sang the Olympic Hymn at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Her latest CD is I’ve Got A Crush On You. She will be performing with the Toronto Symphony at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on April 11 and 13.

What’s your favourite season?

It would probably be summer leading into autumn.

And your least favourite?

As much as I love a good fire, I have to say the end of winter, kind of right now, when the Earth can’t decide what to do. You’re kind of tired of it being so cold, but when you think it’s going to get warm, the Earth decides “No way!” We’re going to give you one more cold snap, slush and snow.

I could never live somewhere where it’s the same all the time. There’s no real way to mark the eternal forward motion of time. It’s a real privilege to live in a place that has four seasons.

When does spring begin for you?

When I don’t have to layer my clothes. When I can get into my car without any preparation. No scraping, and I don’t have to reach for a scarf or a sweater or do the same for my baby.

You travel widely to perform. Do you find rapid seasonal changes – a move to a hint or a full experience of summer, then flying back to winter soon after – a tease or a torture?

My season this year started in Winnipeg in October. Ottawa in October, we haven’t got the deep freeze. But by October in Edmonton and Winnipeg, that’s not the case. They’ve been in the throes of it for a couple of weeks. When I got there, I was, “I could have been eased into this temperature a little bit more!” My job allows me to experience these different levels of temperature and seasons. It is what it is, but I’m not saying I don’t prefer warmer climates. I went to L.A. this year in January to be with the L.A. Philharmonic and I was very excited about that!

What are the joys of spring?

Being able to eat outside, al fresco. Under a heat lamp perhaps, but outside. When the flowers start to push, sometimes even through the snow. Putting the windows down for the first time.

I really love rain. As much as I enjoy a decent snowfall and as beautiful as it is, the rain makes me want to run out into it. If it’s a torrential downpour, I put on my bathing suit and run outside. It’s so cathartic.

What are the drawbacks of spring?

Salt on your car. Never knowing what to wear to avoid getting a cold. That loss of one hour of sleep. Even though it’s only one hour and I change time zones all the time, there’s something I resent about losing that one hour.

What’s under your snowbanks? What will be revealed as they melt?

Probably that car scraper I never managed to find. It’s not Venice, right? So its not going to get super stinky, but there’s gonna be dog poo. Not in my snowbanks, because I don’t own a dog, but in winter at least the dog poop freezes. In spring … it doesn’t.

To me, spring heralds a lot more work. Six months of yard work that snow and ice affords a break from.

Do I seem like someone who does [yardwork]!? My mother’s a very, very good gardener. I’m a cook. I like to marinate things. I like the preparation of being able to go outside. To me, the first thing I love when spring turns is being able to barbecue. All you’re doing is being able to cook food outside, but I love a good barbecue. And I don’t wait until summer to start.

I don’t garden. I can do a potted plant.

Spring also heralds the return of humanity. On the first warm spring day after a long winter, the great unwashed and housebound are out en masse in tube tops and cargo shorts, sunburning saggy flesh you don’t want to see.

I would agree that people tend to hibernate, but living in Ottawa, people embrace every season. It’s still winter and it’s still freezing, but that’s no excuse not to get out and be part of the community. In Toronto, it was really difficult to see where people had gone in the winter. When I spent my first summer in Toronto, I was like, “Where’s the fire? Why are there so many people out here and what are they all rushing to?” Toronto was more of a city where people broke free once it got warm.

Tennyson wrote, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Does warming weather encourage love – and lust – to blossom along with trees and flowers?

It’s always a metaphor for that. It could be that people’s body temperatures go up as the thermostat rises. I can get hot all year round. I don’t necessary feel that much more frisky when it gets warmer, but I might have a teensy bit more energy.

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