American mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, noted for her “alluring dusky voice”, is quickly becoming one of the most sought after talents of her generation. A recipient of the 2012 Marian Anderson Award, J’nai recently joined the prestigious Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center where she has already appeared as Carmen (Carmen, Act IV for Stars of Lyric Opera), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte, Act I for the Grant Park Music Festival) and Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro, Act II with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago at Orchestra Hall) to great success. For Lyric Opera’s 2013/14 season, J’nai will take on the mainstage as a Flower maiden (Wagner’s Parsifal) Flora (Verdi’s Otello) 2nd Wood Nymph (Dvorak’s Rusalka) and two student matinee performances of Rosina (Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia) In addition, J’nai will appear as a soloist for WFMT 98.7’s new recital series and will end the season by performing the role of Adalgisa (Bellini’s Norma) with Knoxville Opera and singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra.
A native of Lakewood, Washington, J’nai earned her Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music (2012), where her operatic credits include Carolina Kirchstetten (Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers), Idamante (Mozart’s Idomeneo), Carmen (Bizet’s Le tragedie de Carmen), Teresa (Bellini’s La Sonnambula), Iras (Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra) and Baba the Turk (Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress). During this time, J’nai appeared as the Madrigalist in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut with the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
J’nai received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music where she appeared in the U.S. premiere of Xenakis’s Oresteia, conducted by Steven Osgood and as Polly (Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera) to rave reviews from the New York Times. Other appearances in the New York area include the role of Mlle. Dangeville (Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur) with the Opera Orchestra of New York.
A young artist with the Glimmerglass Music Festival (2010, 2011), J’nai had the great opportunity to cover Cherubino (Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro), Mrs. Jenks (Copland’s The Tender Land) and sing Carmen (Bizet’s Carmen).
J’nai’s concert appearances include Rutter’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Richard Danielpour’s famed song cycle Sweet Talk, Elgar’s rarely performed Sea Pictures (New Jersey Symphonic Orchestra) under the baton of Neeme Jarvi and Chansons Medecasses in the Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center. A singer of many facets, J’nai has shown her versatility as an interpreter with her vocals for the historic DVD documentary Bishop Richard Allen: Apostle of Freedom and her performance for the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a member of Chorale Le Chateau.
In addition to being the 2012 Marian Anderson award winner, J’nai is a prize winner at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Mid-Atlantic District), recipient of the 2013 Sullivan Award 2013 Union League Award 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant and 2011 winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition. She was awarded the 2009 Richard F. Gold Grant as the singer with a promising operatic career, the 2009 National Opera Association Legacy Award, first place in the 2008 National Vocal Arts Competition for Emerging Artists, a 2008 Leontyne Price Foundation Competition winner and award winner from the College Success Foundation from Washington State.