The show must go on

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Illustration by David Parkins

Opera Grand Rapids will broadcast a performance for ticketholders this weekend.

Despite concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Opera Grand Rapids will present the performance of “Scalia/Ginsburg” in front of a small audience at the Betty Van Andel Opera Center, 1320 E. Fulton St.

The performance will be recorded and shared with the permission of composer and librettist Derrick Wang and then virtually broadcasted to ticketholders.

“As the week progressed, the Met, Broadway and other arts organizations began closing their doors in an effort to halt the spread of this novel coronavirus,” said Emilee Syrewicze, executive director of Opera Grand Rapids. “We could not, in good conscience, continue with our scheduled performances in front of a live audience without potentially risking everyone’s health.

“Yet, we did not want to simply cancel. Instead, in less than 24 hours, we found a way to transform this performance into an experience that highlights the power and possibility of opera. We are an opera company with a millennial staff committed to finding unique solutions and opportunities to bring opera to the masses — even in the face of a global pandemic. We hope that now, even more people will be able to tune into the virtual performance.”

Ticket holders will receive password-protected access for the online screening, which will be available beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and remain open through 4 p.m. Sunday.

A link and protected password to view the virtual performance will be emailed to ticketholders.

The show is supported by its title sponsor, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health.

“As a physician, I believe the arts are essential to our overall well-being — especially at moments like this when our routines are upended and anxiety comes into everyday life,” said Peter Y. Hahn, president and CEO of Metro Health. “We cannot lose sight of what enriches the human experience. As an organization that prizes innovation, Metro Health is proud to support this solution by Opera Grand Rapids to ensure that this historic performance of ‘Scalia/Ginsburg’ can be appreciated in a new way.”

“Scalia/Ginsburg” is a comedy about friendship in a divided world, inspired by the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.

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