Janai Brugger

Artist Picture

Janai Brugger


American soprano Janai Brugger’s recent engagements include Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the role of Pamina in Die Zauberflote for performances at Palm Beach Opera’s first Outdoor Opera Festival. She made her US television debut with a Laura Karpman composition for the soundtrack of HBO’s renowned Lovecraft Country, and more recently appeared as Michaela in Carmen at the Cincinnati Opera. In the Netherlands she appeared at Dutch National Opera in their acclaimed Missa in tempore Belli (Haydn) conducted by Lorenzo Viotti and directed by Barbora Horáková, and she returned to the Metropolitan Opera of New York for further performances of Clara in Porgy and Bess. 

Future engagements in 2022 include Mahler’s Second Symphony with CBSO under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; Zerlina in Don Giovanni in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Festival under Andris Nelsons; Servillia in La Clemenza di Tito at Ravinia Festival under the baton of James Conlon, Kaddish also at Ravinia Festival with Marin Alsop, and rounding out the 2021-2022 season, Hayden’s The Creation at Grant Park Music Festival with Carlos Kalmar. 

In a recent season, Brugger appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Clara in their celebrated new production of Porgy and Bess in which she’d previously appeared at Dutch National Opera. At Lyric Opera of Chicago, she sang the role of Ilia in Idomeneo and at Cincinnati Opera she appeared as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. In her artistic home at Los Angeles Opera, she sang the role of Servilia in La Clemenza di Titoa role she previously sang at Dutch National Opera. Brugger travelled to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden for her Covent Garden debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and she revived the role of Liù in Turandot at Lyric Opera of Chicago.  

In 2012, Brugger won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions which led to her Metropolitan Opera debut as Liu in Turandot; other Met appearances include Jemmy in a new production of Guillaume Tell, Michaela in Carmen, Helena in The Enchanted IslandPamina and Marzelline (c) in Fidelio. Additionally in 2012, the artist won all three First Prizes at Operalia—the Opera Prize, the Song Prize, and the Audience Prize. 

Brugger’s symphonic engagements include Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Elgar’s The Kingdom with American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Mass in C with Louis Langree at Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Theresienmesse at Grant Park Music Festival, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla; in her hometown of Chicago she starred in Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman’s multimedia setting of Langston Hughes’s epic 1961 poem, Ask your Mama, with Chicago Sinfonietta. She made her Salzburg Festival debut in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with musicAeterna conducted by Teodor Currentzis and journeyed to St Petersburg to record it with him. Early in her career she sang High Priestess in Aida with Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.  

Other roles in the artist’s repertoire include Juliette in Roméo et JulietteNorina in Don PasqualeNanetta in FalstaffMusetta in La Boheme and Glauce in Medea. She appeared as Pamina in Barrie Kosky’s celebrated cinematic production of Die Zauberflote at Los Angeles Opera. 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 received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, participated in The Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and went on to become a young artist at Los Angeles Opera for two seasons.