Opera Grand Rapids Talks Note-Worthy Season

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"The Magic Flute" dress rehearsal. Photo by Grand Lubell Photography.

After the success of its 50th-year celebration, Opera Grand Rapids continues to cultivate West Michigan’s vocal arts scene through its 2018-2019 season repertoire of The Magic Flute and La Traviata.

At 51 years old, Opera Grand Rapids is “committed to making the community better, to reaching as many people in the community as possible, and being a welcoming organization for everyone across the spectrum,” James Meena, artistic director and conductor of Opera Grand Rapids, said.

Because of this, Opera Grand Rapids feels a responsibility to elevate the voices surrounding the community and prides itself on employing as many local artists and musicians as possible. This year, almost the entire casts of The Magic Flute and La Traviata are from the area, with the exception of a few select guest artists.

Maestro James Meena of Opera Grand Rapids.
Maestro James Meena of Opera Grand Rapids.

“We have such a wealth of talent in greater Grand Rapids,” Meena said. “As long as they are up to the challenge artistically, we have a responsibility as a local institution to provide performance opportunities for them.”

Not only does this allow Opera Grand Rapids to challenge the artists’ growth and encourage them to stay in the West Michigan area, but according to Meena, it also improves the community’s quality of life through the engagement of these performances.

Whether you have season tickets or are brand new to the opera, Meena invites anyone and everyone to come in and enjoy the 2018-2019 season. “The experience of going to the opera is unlike anything else someone would experience,” Meena said. “It really is an impressive art form that combines drama with classical music from the orchestra, costuming and everything all in one.”

On Oct. 26 and 27 at 7:30 pm, Meena will lead the Opera Grand Rapids Chorus and the Grand Rapids Symphony as the production of The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart takes flight at the DeVos Performance Hall.

Under the stage direction of James Marvel, Mozart’s final masterpiece tells the story of Prince Tamino (Dennis Shuman) on a quest to rescue the Queen of the Night’s (Jana McIntyre) daughter (Cheyanne Coss). Featuring John Viscardi as the comic Papageno, The Magic Flute blends love, tragedy and comedy all in one evening.

"The Magic Flute" dress rehearsal. Photo by Grand Lubell Photography.
“The Magic Flute” dress rehearsal. Photo by Grand Lubell Photography.

The Magic Flute will also be performed in English to encourage newcomers and families of all generations to enjoy a night at the opera.

Before the opening show on Friday, Oct. 26, join Opera Grand Rapids as it celebrates the 2018-2019 season with a pre-opera dinner. Meena will provide an insider’s look for attendees by sharing the history and background of The Magic Flute.

After The Magic Flute wraps up in October, stay tuned for Opera Grand Rapids’ production of La Traviata with music by Giuseppe Verdi. Based on Alexandre Dumas’ La Dame aux Camélias, this true story of Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis will be performed at St. Cecilia Music Center on June 14 & 15 at 7:30 pm. Conducted by Meena, La Traviata will be directed by John Hoomes and features Elizabeth Caballero as Violetta Valery, Zacj Borichevsky as Alfredo Germont, and Mark Rucker as Giorgio Germont.

Tickets are available online through Ticketmaster or by calling the Opera Grand Rapids Box Office at 616.451.2741 ext. 3. Discounts are available for students, groups, and season ticket holders. Visit Opera Grand Rapids’ website to learn more about each production of the upcoming 2018-2019 season.

*Photos by Grand Lubell Photography, The Magic Flute dress rehearsal

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