Opera Grand Rapids Announces 50th Anniversary Season

Opera Grand Rapids Announces 50th Anniversary Season

On June 2, 1967, West Michigan audiences were given their first opera. 50 years and 128 operas later, Opera Grand Rapids returns to its beginnings with the same rousing, tuneful comedy.

Opera Grand Rapids will present a classically-staged production of "The Marriage of Figaro," May 4 and 5, 2018 at DeVos Performance Hall, paying homage to its first-ever opera production.

Featuring Mozart at the height of his creative power, "The Marriage of Figaro" is considered by many to be the greatest opera of all time, owing to its sophisticated yet catchy music, and its poignant yet screwball story.

Opera Grand Rapids' season also features a new rhythm and blues opera, an opera-crossover performance, and another quintessential Italian grand opera.

Opening the 50th anniversary season will be "Rigoletto" at DeVos Performance Hall, October 13 and 14, 2017, one of Giuseppe Verdi's most memorable creations.

Powered by one recognizable melody after another, "Rigoletto" features elements of both tragedy and comedy. The story-based on the controversial play by acclaimEd French writer Victor Hugo-includes a rapidly unfolding drama between a conniving court jester, a promiscuous duke, and an innocent daughter caught in their feud. When the jester seeks revenge, the audience learns who has the last laugh.

Taking the Opera Grand Rapids' podium at DeVos Performance Hall will be Maestro James Meena, Opera Grand Rapids' newly-appointed artistic director. Meena made his Opera Grand Rapids debut in 2005 with "La Bohème" and his Grand Rapids Symphony debut in 2015.

Opera Grand Rapids continues its community-centered programming next season with the premiere performance of Douglas Tappin's "I DREAM." The new semi-staged opera production recounts the inspiring life of Rev. DR. Martin Luther King, Jr., just 50-years after his tragic assassination. "I DREAM" will be presented at Fountain Street Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 15, 2018.

The story's stirring portrayal of Dr. King's most intimate moments is set to music that beautifully fuses opera with bluesy, jazzy, and gospel-tinged rhythms.

Closing Opera Grand Rapids' anniversary season will be a celebration gala honoring 50 years of opera in the community. Opera Grand Rapids invites arts advocates to enjoy a special evening featuring musical guest, "America's Got Talent" opera-crossover sensation, Forte.