B i o g r a p h y
Canadian soprano, Michèle Cusson is receiving critical acclaim internationally. As Contessa, The Epoch Times (New York) says “Cusson skillfully scaled-down her sizeable vocal assets to sing… “Dove sono”… [where] she fully inhabited the character, dramatically communicating her anguish… while serenely recalling the joys of her lost love in the expressively shaded lyrical aria that followed”.
Upcoming engagements include the role of Elsa in Lohengrin, Wagner Wesendonk Lieder with string sextet and ’La vie est belle: An evening of French Music, Culture, Wine and Cuisine’ with chamber musicians, sponsored by the French Consul and Mountain View Chamber Festival. Returning from Germany where she completed a 7 month grant through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to prepare Wagner, Weber and Strauss operas with renowned Wagnerian soprano
Deborah Polaski, Michèle was also fortunate to be a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Prize for Dramatic Sopranos in London.
Recent engagements include Concerts of Mandarin and standard arias with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and iSing! Festival at Shanghai Symphony Hall (currently available for streaming on Medici T.V.), a concert with the Shanghai Philharmonic and iSing! Festival at the Suzhou Centre for the Performing Arts which was broadcast nationally on CCTV, a solo appearance for the AMAO Gala Concert in Moscow, a solo recital with pianist Luisa Splett at Galerie Forum Berlin am Meer, her debut solo CD release of ‘Russian Romances’ with Kathleen van Mourik and guest appearances with numerous Mountain View Chamber Society recital series performing contemporary and standard chamber music.
With the support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Michèle spent the fall of 2013 in New York City studying Wagner and Verdi repertoire with Mignon Dunn and other coaches from the Metropolitan Opera. She recently completed a ten-week Artist’s Residency at the prestigious Banff Centre for the Arts where she prepared the music for a solo CD of all Russian Romances under the auspices of InvestYYC and Calgary Arts Development.
A laureate of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyrique, a finalist in the Liederkranz Wagner Division Competition and a semi-finalist in the Loren Zachary Competition in L.A, Michèle has been a diploma prize winner in the Zara Dolukhanova International Art Song Competition in Kaliningrad, Russia where she was the only non-native Russian singer. She is a proud recipient of multiple grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Banff Centre, The City of Calgary and Calgary Arts Development-all for researching and performing Russian vocal music.
Other operatic roles include the title role in Jenufa, Suor Angelica, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Micaëla in Carmen, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Liza in the Queen of Spades, Zemfira in Aleko, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the Countess and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Flora in La Traviata and Musetta in La Bohème in various countries including Bulgaria, Israel, Italy, Germany, Canada and the US.
Michèle’s vast choral experience includes Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Valery Gergiev and Wagner’s Parsifal with Pierre Boulez both at Carnegie Hall. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Lorin Maazel, La Damnation de Faust with Charles Dutoit, Handel’s Messiah with Alan Gilbert, and an Evening of Berlioz with Sir Colin Davis all with the New York Philharmonic as well as Brahms’ Requiem with the Dresden Philharmonic with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Michèle toured with A Royal Christmas Tour starring Andrea Bocelli, Denyce Graves, the London Philharmonic and the Kiev Ballet performing at Madison Square Garden and other large venues across the U.S.
Michèle attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ for her Bachelor’s Degree, l’Université de Montréal for her Master’s Degree and Post Graduate Diploma in Music, and The Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia where she completed a specialist’s diploma.