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Opera Chose J’Nai Bridges – Akhnaten’s Nefertiti

J'Nai Bridges (Nefertiti) during a dress rehearsal for Akhnaten (2016); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

J’Nai Bridges (Nefertiti) during a dress rehearsal for Akhnaten (2016); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

The 2016/17 season is a big year for J’Nai Bridges. She recently made her San Francisco Opera debut as Bersi in Andrea Chenier (a role she will later reprise at Bavarian State Opera in Munich), Bridges will make her LA Opera debut as Nefertiti in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten on November 5. She has become one of the most sought after mezzo-sopranos of her generation, but she didn’t always long for a career in opera.

Bridges was well on her way to becoming a college basketball star when she discovered a passion for singing that couldn’t be ignored. She joined her high school choir, started taking private voice lessons, and eventually made the decision to become a singer.

“My parents said, ‘You just started singing classically, are you sure you want to do this?’ I told them I had this feeling in my gut and in my soul telling me I need to pursue opera” recalls Bridges.

The choice to sing opera came a little later. She recorded four songs for a pre-screening tape to apply to music schools. Surrounded by her family, Bridges heard herself on tape for the first time.

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