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Rising Stars Brugger lg 1015
This month, Brugger sings with the NYPO at Avery Fisher Hall.
© Dario Acosta

JANAI BRUGGER’s rapturously beautiful, blooming sound has won her raves as Pamina, Liù, and Helena in The Enchanted Island, the Met’s Baroque pastiche. Brugger describes herself as “a light lyric soprano. I have a dark color to my sound, so sometimes people think it is bigger than what it truly is. But right now I’m sticking to the light lyric repertoire and won’t accept roles that I know I’m not ready for.”

This season, the thirty-two-year-old Chicago native has engagements as Micaela at Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City and returns to Los Angeles Opera, where she is an alumna of the company’s young-artist program, for a late-spring run as Musetta in La Bohème. Brugger’s career took a leap forward in 2012, when she won the Met’s National Council Grand Finals in March and followed it up with a three-tiered win (first prize, audience prize and zarzuela prize) at Operalia in June. In October of the same year, Brugger made her Met debut, as Liù. “That year gave me a lot to digest. I entered those competitions because I felt I was at the age where I needed to start entering competitions at a higher level. And I didn’t know what to expect. When I went out on that Met stage, having never been there before, everything changed at that moment. It was thrilling and scary, but I’m eternally grateful for what happened.”

Does Brugger have any dream roles? “Tosca. I would totally sing Tosca, but that is a role that I should not ever sing until I’m at least fifty. It’s my favorite opera and my favorite character, and I would love, love, love to sing it. But, it’s definitely not happening any time soon.”

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