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Classical Studies: On a High Note... Keyed Up... A Religious Experience...

These young talents are taking traditional training in a new direction.

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Photo By WWD Staff

WWD Photo

WWD Image

Photo By WWD Staff

WWD Photo

WWD Image

Photo By WWD Staff

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 08/30/2007
ON A HIGH NOTE: Measha Brueggergosman may be one of the most talented vocalists of our time, but the 30-year-old Toronto-based soprano doesn't limit herself to one profession. Along with a forthcoming second album, "Surprise," under Universal Records on Oct. 9 and a North American tour beginning Sept. 25, Brueggergosman also has a movie in the works, TV appearances on cooking shows and documentaries on her life, radio shows and a regular column in Canada's National Post newspaper. Her strong personality is also alive in her elaborate style, created without a stylist. "Fashion is an extension of who you are," she says. "Who knows that better than yourself?" — Julee Greenberg

How is your stage style different from your street style?

Because of my huge afro, I've stopped trying to blend in. But when it comes to fashion, I'm really not interested in sacrificing comfort for looking good. Also, since I travel so much, I like anything I can just throw in my suitcase, pull out and have instant drama. I never buy clothes I have to iron.

What are your style influences?

I really love to work with Canadian designers. I love Izzy Camilleri, Rosemarie Umetsu and Magpie, who are all based in Toronto. They always work with me to figure out what my style for the season will be. I never want subtle. I like bright colors and plenty of drama. I also try to create grandiosity without being gimmicky.

There's really a great wealth of designers in Toronto, which I truly got to experience when I sang at Paul Hardy's runway show last fashion week. It was really cool to be a part of a runway show, and I never thought classical music would lead me there.

What would you do if you weren't a musician?

I would be a makeup artist or author. I say a makeup artist because I love that intimate relationship with the client, and it really is an art. And I say a writer because I write in journals a lot and have written articles for national newspapers. I really enjoy it and love to exercise my voice in nonsinging ways.
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 08/30/2007
What would people never guess about you?

I am addicted to reality TV. "Project Runway," "The Amazing Race," "Survivor," I love them all. Also, I love any reality show with a cast of D-list celebrities. I have no idea who those people are, but it's a total train wreck and I can't stop watching.

What's your favorite wardrobe item at the moment?

I have this fabulous Rosemarie Umetsu dress from my New York Philharmonic debut. I feel beautiful in it. Nothing can make you feel better than a great dress.

For more news on Measha, visit here.

KEYED UP: At just 20 years old, piano virtuoso Natasha Paremski is no slave to tradition. Best known for her classical skills, the Russian-born, California-bred pianist champions new music and performs outside the concert hall, playing Tchaikovsky for a BBC film as well as pieces by jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch. Paremski, who is touring through October, made it clear that shopping is another one of her talents. "I do this thing where I save my money for a long time and then I go on major sprees twice a year," she says. "I just had one and bought the most amazing Gucci boots. Now I can't wait until it gets cold so I can wear them."
— J.G.

How is your stage style different from your street style?

On stage I have to wear a long gown, usually something formal. I buy a lot of Nicole Miller. In the summer when I do festivals, I can wear something a little less dressy, like black pants or a cocktail dress. I'm usually pretty casual on my down time. I love Elie Tahari, Juicy Couture, BCBG Max Azria and Marc by Marc Jacobs.

What would you never wear?

I don't like to wear leather pants or skirts. They just feel weird and aren't comfortable.

What are your style influences?

Magazines mostly. I love reading Vogue, Vanity Fair and Allure. I don't have a particular style icon.
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 08/30/2007
What would people never guess about you?

It's funny, but people are usually surprised to hear that I come from Russia. I moved here when I was 8 years old, so I really don't have an accent or anything.

What's your favorite wardrobe item at the moment?

My new Gucci boots. I saved my money forever to buy them. Also, I have this BCBG pointelle cardigan, it's very unusual, so I love it.

For more news on Natasha, visit here.

A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: Rolando Villazón's music career began with a leap of faith. His training to become a priest brought him closer to God, but also closer to music.

After Villazón's first year in the seminary, his mentor organized a concert and insisted the Mexican tenor perform.

"After the concert, my spiritual guide told me that my vocation was not with the church but on the stage," says Villazón. "He guaranteed me that one day I would sing at the Metropolitan Opera."

That day came seven years ago when he made his Met debut in "La Traviata." But he got his U.S. start in the Pittsburgh Opera's Young Artists Program, where he explored another passion. "I'm a big Steelers fan, and the program was during football season!"

From Pittsburgh he went on to perform the role of Alfredo in "La Traviata" and collect numerous prizes at Plácido Domingo's 1999 Operalia competition. Not bad for a guy who didn't consider an opera career until the age of 20.

"It's not like God presented Himself in a room and decided it would be my path," said Villazón, now 35. "I always loved singing. In high school, I would sing everything from the Beatles to Plácido Domingo to John Denver."

Indeed, Villazón still loves to sing. "It's not a profession to me. It's my hobby, and I get money for it. Singing gives me the opportunity to put my soul in what I do. Music speaks to everyone. It doesn't matter if you understand what it's about or if you've been to the opera, because music hits you and creates a certain reaction."
Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 08/30/2007
Although Villazón recently canceled months of performances due to illness, "Duets," the album he recorded with soprano Anna Netrebko, is set for U.S. release on Sept. 11. And this winter the tenor will return to the Met as Romeo, opposite Netrebko, in four performances of "Romeo et Juliette," starting Dec. 8. He will also make his Carnegie Hall debut on Dec. 10.
— Michelle Edgar

For more news on Rolando, visit here.