Janai Brugger, Soprano


2012 Operalia Competition - Janai Brugger


Janai Brugger, Biography

Janai Brugger (US America, born 1983) is an operatic soprano who has won several major music competitions. Her career flourished after she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2012 at the age of 29. Since then she has appeared in leading roles with American opera companies. She is very gifted with a supple, beautifully shaded lyric soprano voice. 

Childhood and Youth

In 1963, at 19 years, Kiri Te Kanawa was runner-up in the Mobil Song Quest. In 1965, she won the same competition with her performance of "Vissi d'arte" from Puccini's Tosca. As the winner, she received a grant to study in London. One year later, she won the prestigious Australian Melbourne Sun-Aria contest.

Also in 1966, she enrolled at the London Opera Centre to seriously study under Vera Rozsa and James Robertson, who supposedly said that Kiri Te Kanawa lacked a singing technique when she arrived but did have a gift for captivating audiences. It was Australian conductor Richard Bongynge who told Kiri during a class to better shift from mezzo soprano to soprano singer. In 1967, former Vienna opera star Vera Rozsa became Kiri's singing coach. Rozsa systematically schooled her in interpretation and stage acting as well as in the technical aspects of operatic singing.

In 1969, the conductor Collin Davis, who became the principal director of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1970, heard Kiri Te Kanawa during an audition. He said he couldn't believe his ears: He had taken thousands of auditions but Kiri's was such a fantastically beautiful voice. Consequently, by 1970, Kiri Te Kanawa was able to fulfill her mother's dream in making her debut at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. She sang the roles of Xenia in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunow and the flower maiden in Wagner's Parsifal. The performance that followed in 1971 began her stratospheric rise and her international career: The Countess Almaviva in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Kiri Te Kanawa's mother died shortly after.  


In 2012, at the age of 29, Brugger won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was awarded the zarzuela prize and the Prize of the Public at the Operalia, The World Opera Competition.
Since then her career has flourished. In 2012 she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Liu in Turandot, her debut with the Palm Beach Opera as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and appeared as both The First Lady in The Magic Flute and as the soprano soloist in Kurt Weill's Die Zaubernacht at the Ravinia Festival with conductor James Conlon leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO).
In 2013 Brugger appeared as a soloist with the CSO again at the Cincinnati May Festival, performed under conductor Christopher Bell at the Grant Park Music Festival, portrayed the High Priestess in Aida at the Hollywood Bowl, made her debut at the Hawaii Opera Theatre as Liu, and made her European debut at the Peter Dvorský International Music Festival. In February 2014 she returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Helena in The Enchanted Island. She made her debut with Opera Colorado as Micaëla in Carmen in May 2014.

For Janai's upcoming performances, please visit her homepage:


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