In her home city, Janai Brugger stuns audiences as she makes her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the role of Liù, Turandot. This review gives us an idea of what we can expect from Janai Brugger in 2018.
Lyric (Opera of Chicago) launched its second round of “Turandot” performances Wednesday night, adding a newcomer to the roster, soprano Janai Brugger, who is taking over the role of the slave girl, Liu, for the four remaining outings of “Turandot” at the Lyric Opera House.
A sensitive singer can achieve a poignant effect with Liu that is inversely proportional to the actual amount of singing Puccini allotted to the character on stage. Brugger did so on this occasion.
The Chicago native is no stranger to the part, having sung Liu at the Metropolitan Opera; nor is she unknown to Chicago audiences, who have heard her in opera at Ravinia and in concert at Grant Park. She sang with meltingly lovely sound, creating a believable portrait of Liu — touching in her doomed love for the unknown prince Calaf, yet fearless in her resolve to save him.
Which is to say that Brugger deployed her warm, substantial voice with great dramatic presence...The exquisite high pianissimo she floated at the end of “Signore, ascolta” made that aria one of the vocal highlights of the show.
Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein, 11 January 2018