Interview: March 22, 2022

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges has been dubbed opera’s “rising star” by the Los Angeles Times—and with good reason.  

She’s dazzled audiences at the Metropolitan Opera, Dutch National Opera , San Francisco Opera and Zurich Opera House and gave a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall (to name a few). But our favorite performances of hers happened a lot closer to home. She made her company debut in 2016 as Nefertiti in Akhnaten. Two years later, she returned for another role debut as Kasturbai in Satyagraha.  

“Those productions really garnered such attention and such a buzz in the opera house. It was just really amazing to be in that energy. And people still talk about those productions today,” she said.  

“One of my favorite memories, in fact, is with Marc and Eva Stern after Satyagraha opened. We were all on the dance floor and I turned to Marc and Eva and they were just having the best time. That just made me so happy and so excited because not only are they serious about making beautiful art and being incredible philanthropists, but they are a lot of fun. So it's nice to walk into the opera house and immediately feel comfortable because of their energy and their great support.” 

The Sterns' support of J’Nai goes far beyond her appearances on our stage. This award will help her prepare for dozens of exciting engagements around the world. 

“It's such a big help to receive this generous gift, and as I'm sure many people know—or maybe they don't know—it is quite an expense to be an opera singer. So, I plan to use these funds towards coachings and lessons, which are always never ending. I'm always learning new music, and so my amazing coaches will assist me with that.” 

J’Nai also considers Eva and Marc Stern to be some of the most generous people she knows, and is inspired by all they do for the opera world. 

“To be a recipient of this award is a great honor, and I'm just extremely grateful for it. As opera singers, we are challenged daily. So to just be recognized for our hard work—and in this case—my hard work, it really is very special. I'm just so grateful for that recognition, and it inspires me to keep going.”