J’Nai Bridges Is Ready

It’s well known that the 30-year-old opera singer gave up a promising basketball future — and likely, college scholarships —  when, during her senior year at the high school near her hometown of Lakewood, Washington, she turned from game-time hollering to more controlled vocalizations.

Bridges, even in a phone interview, projects athleticism. She demonstrates spontaneity, spring, rebound, accuracy, power, groundedness, focus, agility, and rapid responsiveness during a wide-ranging conversation.

You can count on Bridges to be forthright, dynamic, and spirited when she attacks a role, from the “slides on me like a glove,” resiliency of Carmen to the tragic, emotionally demanding Lucretia in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. The temperament of the latter is not natural to Bridges, but the vocal and acting requirements of the role leave her juiced, eager for the next challenge. Asked what her future might hold, Bridges says, “I’d love to ride sometime as a mezzo-soprano, but eventually, I’d like to sing Delilah and Verdi roles, when my voice is ready.”

Fist bumps and high fives don’t often follow a mezzo-soprano’s brisk high Cs or equally impressive delivery of low range, dusky, rich notes, but when ambition appears in the voice and form of J’Nai Bridges, it’s hard to resist.

San Francisco Classical Voice

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