Janai Brugger is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide.

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Janai Brugger

Soprano

  • Soprano Janai Brugger, a crowd favorite, is clearly someone to watch.
    Greg Moomjy, Opera Today
  • Janai Brugger, whose supple and luminous soprano delivered one gloriously floated high note after another.
    Los Angeles News
  • There was more vocal personality to Brugger, who supplied an intriguing poignancy to the often superficially treated Musetta.
    Mark Swed, LA Times
  • Janai Brugger sang another selection from La del manojo de rosas with sterling silver tones. Hers is a truly beautiful soprano.
    Maria Nockin, Opera Today
  • Soprano Janai Brugger, in her debut, was a standout, communicating warmth and velvety tone and beautiful expression.
    Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com
  • As Liu, Janai Brugger brought the house to its feet. She has a warm, clear brandywine tone with a tight vibrato that makes her voice shimmer — an absolute delight to hear, and her singing tugs at our heartstrings.
    Ruth o. Bingham, Honolulu Pulse
  • A former winner in 2012 of Placido Domingo’s prestigious Operalia competition and of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, American soprano, Janai Brugger, begins the 2015-16 season as Michaela Carmen at Washington National Opera, and sings the role again later in the season at Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She is the proud recipient of the 2016 Marian Anderson Award

    Identified by Opera News as one of their top 25 “brilliant young artists” (October 2015 issue), Janai joins the Metropolitan Opera for their Rising Stars concert series and makes several US concert appearances during the season, along with various recital performances. She makes her debut as Norina Don Pasquale at Palm Beach Opera, and returns to Los Angeles Opera to revive the role of Musetta La Boheme which she sings under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.

    Recent highlights include the role of Pamina Die Zauberflote  in which she made her UK debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to great acclaim, and formely sang at Los Angeles Opera in a new production by Barrie Kosky; Liu Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera of New York where she also sang the role of Helena The Enchanted Island

    In previous seasons, the artist made her debut as Michaela Carmen with Opera Colorado; she sang High Priestess Aida at the Hollywood Bowl with Los Angeles Philharmonic, Juliette Roméo et Juliette at Palm Beach Opera, and, as a member of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, her Los Angeles Opera appearances include Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Placido Domingo, Page Rigoletto with James Conlon, and Musetta La Bohème with Patrick Summers. Cover assignments as a young artist include the roles of Mrs Neruda Il Postino, and the Governess The Turn of the Screw.

    Miss Brugger appears frequently in concert and in recital; she sang at the Peter Dvorsky Festival in the Czech Republic; with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra during the May Festival under the baton of James Conlon; at Ravinia Festival with Chicago Symphony Orchestra as First Lady Die Zauberflöte under the baton of James Conlon; at Grant Park Festival’s Fourth of July open air concert before 10,000 people, with the Philadelphia Orchestra in their 2013 gala concert performance.

    Additionally, she appeared in New York’s Festival of Song, and with David Daniels for performances of The Messiah in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    A native of Chicago, the artist obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she studied with the late Shirley Verrett.  She won her Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University where she studied with Elsa Charlston. In 2010, Miss Brugger participated in The Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and went onto become a young artist at Los Angeles Opera for two seasons.

    Future engagements include return engagements at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

    • La Boheme, Los Angeles Opera
      May 2016

      Soprano Janai Brugger portrayed Musetta as a vamping, campy near parody of Carmen in Act II when it came time for “Musetta’s Waltz,” while managing to preserve the character’s dignity and compassion in Act IV.
      LA Times, Richard S Ginell, 15 May
      I had not seen the last revival of this production in 2012 when Janai Brugger first sang Musetta but my thanks to whomever engaged her again. Flaunting one of the most luscious and seductive voices it has ever been my pleasure to hear, Ms. Brugger tore up the stage at the Cafè Momus in Act II with a performance that should easily assure her gainful employment for the rest of her career. In “Quando m’en vo” she made easy work of the composer’s many markings, never letting the phrases lose their musical shape. Her stage business with the waiters was so hilarious and over the top for a moment I feared we were going to get a Hello, Dolly! kickline.
      Parterre box, Patrick Mack, 17 May
      Brugger as Musetta was a volcano of sexuality. The direction and choreography allows for some over-the-top, audacious behavior and Brugger went the distance, revealing to Los Angeles audiences a singer of many gifts: from comic, compassionate, and willful as Musetta to demure and stoic as Pamina in LAO’s The Magic Flute of 2013.
      Seen and Heard International, Jane Rosenberg, 16 May
      The tempestuous object of his affection, Musetta, was sung by soprano Janai Brugger. Brugger has a good deal of fun being the belle of bohemian Paris as she warbles “Musetta’s Waltz.” Then, as the story deepens and her love affair with Marcello frays, Brugger captured the more mature side of her character
      LA Daily News, Jim Farber, 17 May
    • Carmen, Lyric Opera of Kansas City
      April 2016

      …soprano Janai Brugger, who played an appealing Micaëla. Though a modest contrast to Carmen, the character is savvy, not unaware of the ways of the world, and Brugger balanced her sweet demeanor with searing passion and pure, untarnished vocals.
      Libby Hanssen, The Kansas City Star, 24 April
      Janai Brugger’s sweet (never naïve) Micaela was rendered with believable charm— demure yet forceful… Brugger’s tour-de-force was the Act 3 “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante,” where her crystal tone made for an ideal contrast to Švēde.
      Sarah Tyrrell, KCMetropolis, April 25, 2016
    • Palm Beach Opera, Don Pasquale
      February 2016

      Janai Brugger was marvellous as Norina, her voice radiant. Her acting was brilliant as she first seduced the gullible Don and then threw off her convent garb, transforming into a shrew who takes over control of his household. Later, she effectively portrayed Norina’s sympathy and remorse after she slaps Pasquale, leading him to declare despairingly, “Ah! È finita” (It’s all over). Her love-duet with Ernesto in the final Act was touchingly rendered.
      David M Rice, Classical Source, 20 February 2016
      The two lovers were exceptional vocally and theatrically. With a voice both sweet and sly, Janai Brugger lit up the stage as Norina. In Fenion Lamb’s production, she is surrounded by commedia dell’ arte characters, who return at the end to celebrate the union of the happy couple. Brugger was playful with her cohorts, dancing around the set while spinning spot-on coloratura phrases. She turned convincing shrew after taking over Pasquale’s house, slapping him and ordering a new staff and furniture to update his dilapidated pad. Brugger’s soubrette voice and demeanor were an utter delight.
      Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review, 20 February 2016
      The lovers Norina and Ernesto have the most technically demanding parts. Soprano Janai Brugger nailed every note in the coloratura of her intricate opening aria, going on to create a fascinating, many-sided character who showed temper and temperament but also tenderness and feeling.
      Robert Croan, Palm Beach Daily News, 20 February 2016
    • New York Philharmonic, ‘In Their Footsteps: Great African-American singers and their legacy’
      October 2015

      Janai Brugger sang “Ave Maria” and “My God Is So High” with a creamy light soprano.
      Zachary Woolfe, NY Times, 15 October 2015
      Janai Brugger displayed a lovely lyric soprano and nuanced musicianship in the Bach-Gounod “Ave Maria.” She also offered wonderful work in Hall Johnson’s arrangement of “My God Is So High.”
      David Shengold, Classical Voice America, 16 October 2015
    • Carmen, Washington National Opera
      September 2015

      …Janai Brugger, a sweet-voiced and slightly spunky Micaela…
      Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 20 September 2015
      …the soaring notes belong to Janai Brugger (Micaëla), José’s poor abandoned fiancée.
      Jessica Vaughn, DC Metro Theatre Arts, 20 September 2015
      Janai Brugger, her Micaela making for another welcome DC debut,(...) made a strong case for her generous, silvery soprano.
      Alex Baker, Parterre Box, 21 September 2015
      Janai Brugger was a quite glorious Micaëla: white-gloved, of course, and with sensible shoes, but a voice not at all that of the girl-next-door.
      Bachtrack, Hilary Stroh, 21 September 2015
      Brugger’s lovely soprano voice is shown to even greater advantage in the mountain scene when she makes a second pilgrimage to save her love Jose and sings, “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante."
      DC Theatre Scene, Susan Galbraith, 22 September 2015
      The other standout here is Janai Brugger in the role of Micaela, Don José’s quickly discarded fiancée who is also symbolic of the life and commitments he leaves behind. Brugger has the tough job of epitomizing virtuous and unassuming womanhood, which she manages with understated grace, but her star turn comes with the hauntingly sad aria “Je dis que rien ne m’epouvante” in which she mourns the loss of her future with Don José. Brugger sings with intensely appealing dimension and precision, the emotion arriving with subtle and devastating stealth.
      Metroweekly, Kate Wingfield, 24 September 2015
    • Die Zauberflöte, The Royal Opera House
      February/March 2015

      Pamina turns out to be the real hero. Making her Royal Opera debut, Janai Brugger made a strong impression in the role, her creamy soprano well inflected in the aria “Ach ich fühls”, her very fast vibrato adding to her sense of vulnerability. She brought a sense of pathos and calm dignity.
      Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack
      He deserves a fine Pamina and gets one in the beautiful, melting singing of Janai Brugger...
      Richard Fairman, The Financial Times
      This was the first time I had heard his Pamina, Jania Brugger, but I very much hope that it will not be the last. Her performance balanced dignity and beauty of tone in properly Mozartian manner, her second-act aria an object lesson in pathos without exaggeration.
      Mark Berry, Seen and Heard international
      It helped that he was matched by Janai Brugger’s beautifully performed Pamina, which managed to embrace the role both as archetype and character. This American soprano seems to have it all – a warm, subtle presence, a gleaming, mobile voice full of colour and nuance, packed with emotion in a show-stopping ‘Ich fühl’s’, and a natural connection with the music. Together with Spence, they became the point of the opera.
      Peter Reed, Classical Source
      … there's a warmth and vulnerability to Chicago-born Janai Brugger's timbre that makes her the ideal Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute. Indeed, I can't recall a soprano in this slightly silly part who has been quite so genuinely touching.
      Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage
      soprano Janai Brugger, a newcomer to the Royal Opera whose performance, both vocal and physical, is more than promising; she offers a Pamina of unflawed tonal clarity and subtle colouring, beautifully shaded in detail, and like Spence she looks the part as well as proving a fluent actor.
      George Hall, The Guardian
      Amongst the ‘discoveries’ of the evening in vocal terms, the most promising was Janai Brugger, making her house debut as a lustrous Pamina; singing with directness and sweetness of tone yet with an edge to her phrasing, she resembled the unforgettable Ileana Cotrubas in this role.
      Melanie Eskenazi, Music OMH
    • New York Festival of Song Recital
      November 2014

      Both singers were technically superb, and their personal qualities were ideal for the program; Brugger’s velvety voice possesses a mezzo color that carries the intimacy these songs needed, speaking directly to the listener.
      George Grella, New York Classical Review
      John Brancy and Janai Brugger both possess exceptionally beautiful, flexible voices but also, more importantly, an artistic maturity beyond their tender years.
      Geoffrey Wieting, Classical Scene
      ...The stirring, impassioned and even beguiling singing by the baritone John Brancy and the soprano Janai Brugger, who each combined poise and ardor in the service of songs that explored where our feelings intersect with our psyche.
      Bob Hughes, Classical TV
      ...talented young singer Janai Brugger, displaying a full, dusky lyric soprano...Brugger sang, with an engagingly light and seductive touch
      Bruce-Michael Gelbert, QonStage
    • Carmen, Opera Colorado
      (May 2014)

      Soprano Janai Brugger, as José's jilted fiancée, the pure and guileless Micaela, had the audience enraptured with the astonishing purity and beauty of her voice.
      Kelly Dean Hansen, The Daily Camera
      I also thoroughly enjoyed the passionate performance and vocals of Janai Brugger as Michaela.
      Michael Mulhern, Broadway World
    • The Enchanted Island, The Metropolitan Opera
      February 2014

      Standouts among the quartet of refugee lovers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream were […] the warm, mezzo-sounding soprano Janai Brugger
      Eric Myers, New York Classical Review
    • Die Zauberflöte, LA Opera
      November 2013

      Janai Brugger is a perfect Pamina. Her arias are as clear as a mountain stream.
      Jim Farber, Press-Telegram
      Janai Brugger is a rapturous Pamina ready for prime time.
      Mark Swed, LA Times
      Janai Brugger let loose a shimmering soprano. When she sings of her loss of love’s happiness in her Act Two aria, she caresses each line with tenderness, and the effect is exquisitely heartbreaking.
      Jane Rosenberg, Seen and Heard International
      The rising soprano Janai Brugger, tone creamy and phrasing elegant, found feeling within the constraints of the production’s stylization, her hair in an Expressionist-era Louise Brooks bob and her body flinching eloquently under the burden of Pamina’s suffering.
      Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
      ...every exquisite second of singing by rising L.A. Opera star Janai Brugger -- her solo inside a cartoon snowglobe was the heartrending high point of the evening.
      Tim Appelo, The Hollywood repporter
      As Pamina in Los Angeles Opera’s silent-film-inspired production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” last month, the elegant, creamy-toned soprano Janai Brugger, 30, embraced the production’s constraints — all movements had to be synchronized with stage-filling animations — without compromising the tender force of her personality. It was a performance... that was the apotheosis of the 30-something, with both the freshness of youth and the depth of age.
      Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
    • Zarzuela Gala, LA Opera
      June 2013

      Janai Brugger, whose supple and luminous soprano delivered one gloriously floated high note after another.
      Los Angeles News
      Former Domingo Thornton Program member, Met Auditions, and Operalia winner Janai Brugger sang another selection from La del manojo de rosas, “No corte más que una rosa” (Don’t cut more than one rose) with sterling silver tones. Hers is a truly beautiful soprano. She looked vivacious in her bright red silk gown when she rendered another solo, the rousing “De España vengo” (I come from Spain) from Pablo Luna’s El niño judio. (The Jewish boy) An expressive artist from whom we can expect a major career, she sang duets with both Domingo and Guerrero.
      Maria Nockin, Opera Today
    • Mozart Requiem, Cincinnati May Festival
      May 2013

      The soloists were well-matched and provided some exceptional solos. One of the most memorable moments was their “Benedictus,” which unfolded with pastoral beauty. Soprano Janai Brugger, in her debut, was a standout, communicating warmth and velvety tone and beautiful expression.
      Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati.com
    • Operalia Competition, Beijing
      June 2012

      The winners of the 20th edition of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia – The World Opera Competition have been announced. Held in Beijing from June 4-10, the competition awarded First Prize for a female singer to American soprano Janai Brugger, who is currently enrolled in LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. Brugger also received the Pepita Embil Domingo Zarzuela Prize and the Audience Prize.
      Gramophone
    • La Boheme, Los Angeles Opera
      May 2012

      There was more vocal personality to Brugger, who supplied an intriguing poignancy to the often superficially treated Musetta.
      Mark Swed, LA Times
    • Met Opera competition, New York
      March 2012

      Only one singer inspired me to look forward to a full performance. Janai Brugger sang two lyric soprano standards with poise and style, quiet intensity and superb phrasing... Her physical performance was reserved in both "Depuis le jour," from Charpentier’s "Louise," and "Ach, ich fühl’s," from Mozart’s "Zauberflöte." The emotion was in her sound, which projected, with silvery ease, first relaxed but focused bliss in "Depuis le jour" and then haunting melancholy in the Mozart. She met the challenge of the Charpentier, which is to be simultaneously languid and light. Her top notes were clear and secure; she descended from the high A near the end of "Depuis le jour" with lucid beauty.
      Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
      Soprano Janai Brugger, a crowd favorite, is clearly someone to watch. In both her arias, the famous "Depuis le jour," from Louise, and Die Zauberflote’s "Ach, ich fuhl’s," demonstrated warm tone and command of legato and ornamentation.
      Greg Moomjy, Opera Today
    • Met Opera competition, New York
      March 2012

      Only one singer inspired me to look forward to a full performance. Janai Brugger sang two lyric soprano standards with poise and style, quiet intensity and superb phrasing... Her physical performance was reserved in both "Depuis le jour," from Charpentier’s "Louise," and "Ach, ich fühl’s," from Mozart’s "Zauberflöte." The emotion was in her sound, which projected, with silvery ease, first relaxed but focused bliss in "Depuis le jour" and then haunting melancholy in the Mozart. She met the challenge of the Charpentier, which is to be simultaneously languid and light. Her top notes were clear and secure; she descended from the high A near the end of "Depuis le jour" with lucid beauty.
      Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
      Soprano Janai Brugger, a crowd favorite, is clearly someone to watch. In both her arias, the famous "Depuis le jour," from Louise, and Die Zauberflote’s "Ach, ich fuhl’s," demonstrated warm tone and command of legato and ornamentation.
      Greg Moomjy, Opera Today
  • Janai Brugger’s Opera Repertoire

    BIZET
    • Carmen (Michaela)
    BRITTEN
    • The Turn of the Screw (Governess)
    CATAN
    • Il Postino (Neruda)
    DONIZETTI
    • L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina)
    • Don Pasquale (Norina)
    GOUNOD
    • Romeo et Juliette (Juliette)
    HANDEL, VIVALDI, RAMEAU
    • The Enchanted Island (Helena)
    MOZART
    • Die Zauberflöte (Papagena)
    • Le nozze di Figaro (Suzanna)
    • Idomeneo (Ilia)
    PUCCINI
    • La Bohème (Musetta)
    • Turandot (Liu)
    VERDI
    • Rigoletto (The Page)
    • Falstaff (Nanetta)
    • Aida (High Priestess)
    TCHAIKOVSKY
    • Eugene Onegin (Tatiana)

    Concert repertoire

    JS BACH
    • Magnificat
    BRAHMS
    • Requiem
    HANDEL
    • Messiah
    MAHLER
    • Fourth Symphony
    MOZART
    • Requiem
    MOZART
    • C Minor Mass
  • Photos