A rising opera star who grew up in Lakewood will perform in a free concert Friday (Dec. 23) at Allen AME Church in Tacoma.
J’Nai Bridges gave up a potential career as a professional basketball player for a career on the stage.
The mezzo-soprano, 29, has performed major roles for some of the world’s biggest opera companies including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Los Angeles Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and San Francisco Opera.
She most recently played Queen Nefertiti in Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” in November in Los Angeles.
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The LA Times called Bridges “a rising star” and The New Yorker said her performance was “glowing.”
“I like to say opera chose me,” she told KQED. “I didn’t grow up listening to it or going to the opera.”
Bridges is returning to her roots Saturday. She was known as a shy soprano when she sang in the choir at Allen AME, according to church officials.
As a student at Charles Wright Academy a disagreement with Bridges’ basketball coach brought an end to her sports career. She then took choir as an arts elective.
“It opened up this whole new world.”
Friday’s concert features several other performers.
J’Nai Bridges concert
When: 7 p.m. Friday (Dec. 23)
Where: Allen AME church, 1223 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma