VIDEO | Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges performs live in the WFMT studios

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges (Photo: S. Richards)

Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges (Photo: S. Richards)

Mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges is known for her interpretations of classic and contemporary works, and she shared both with us live in the WFMT studios.

Though originally from Lakewood, Washington, coming to Chicago and the WFMT studios is a bit of a homecoming for Bridges. For three years, she was a member of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, and WFMT fans would have heard her in broadcasts of The Passenger, La traviata, and Bel Canto, in which she premiered the role of Carmen.

During a Facebook live broadcast in WFMT’s Levin Studio, Bridges shared "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" from Bizet’s Carmen, which is more popularly known as the Habanera. She also presented the world-premiere performance of “O Glory” by Shawn Okpebholo. After collaborating with Bridges to record an album, Steal Away, in 2015 Okpebholo was inspired to write this work specifically for her voice. In both musical selections, she is accompanied by Paul Sánchez, who is also a composer himself.

“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (Habanera) from Bizet’s “Carmen”


“Oh, Glory” by Shawn Okpebholo


J’Nai Bridges visited WFMT in advance of her appearance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Marin Alsop at the Ravinia Festival on August 19, 2018.