Artist Of The Week: J’Nai Bridges
American Mezzo-Soprano Makes Long Awaited Metropolitan Opera In ‘Ahknaten’By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: LA Opera)
This week the Metropolitan Opera will present the New York premiere of Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten,” the third Glass opera in the company’s repertoire. Among those appearing in the hotly anticipated Met premiere is rising mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges.
Bridges has become one of the most important exponents of contemporary music, being featured in prominent productions of “Satyagraha” and the world premieres of John Adams’ “Girls of the Golden West” and Jimmy Lopez’s ” Bel Canto,” as well as John Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking.” She has also made acclaimed portrayals of such classic heroines as “Carmen” and Suzuki in “Madama Butterfly.”
For her Met debut, the mezzo will sing the role of Nefertiti, a role she first performed in LA in the same production and one that will likely solidify her status in the opera world. During that production, Bridges scored rave reviews with critics noting she was “an opulent Nefertiti” and had a “glowing” voice.
In a recent interview with the mezzo, Bridges noted that she was excited to sing modern music and that “I am very attracted to pieces that discuss the issues of our current society, which modern works often do.”
And for those who will not be at the Met for her debut, Bridges will make her highly anticipated role debut as Dalila in “Samson et Dalila” at the Washington National Opera. She will also sing her first Carmen in Europe at the Dutch National Opera.
For those not familiar with Bridges’ voice, the mezzo is featured in a recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel, Soloman Howard, and Joshua Guerrero.
Here she is during the Cardiff competition performing from Gonoud’s “Sapho.”
And here she is as “Carmen” at the San Francisco Opera.