When the curtains open on Opera Grand Rapids’ May 1 and May 2 performances of Turandot – the company’s largest production in more than a decade – nearly 20 percent of the audience will be seeing the art form for the first time – and for free.
Opera Grand Rapids has committed $40,000 to its Community Tickets Program, which will distribute 900 tickets, 450 for each of the two shows at DeVos Performance Hall, to community organizations for distribution to people who are interested in the opera but have been priced out of access.
“This is an investment that creates an avenue for people and eliminates the barriers to seeing Opera in Grand Rapids,” said Emilee Syrewicze, the opera’s executive director. “These are prime seats that we are keeping open for people to experience this classic artform.”
“We want to approach diversity, equity and inclusion with intention. We hope the result is easier access to the performing arts. We’re excited, and we think this is an important step for our community.”
The new outreach partners Opera Grand Rapids with local arts and service organizations including:
- Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities
- Grand Rapids Public Library
- Salvation Army of Kent County
- Woodlands/Suburban Library Cooperative
- Grand Rapids Urban League
- Community Food Club
- Dwelling Place
- Gilda’s Club
Patrons of the community partners can request tickets through the groups and must not be prior ticket purchasers. Syrewicze said more community associations can partner with Opera Grand Rapids by calling 451-2741.
“We are providing an opportunity to see Turandot, and at the same time, we’re helping elevate the profile of other community cultural groups,” Syrewicze said.
Turandot, from composer Giacomo Puccini, will be a stunning experience, and it is described as a visual, dramatic and musical feast for the senses. The production will feature the full Grand Rapids Symphony and a large chorus in addition to the talents of top opera performers. It features opera’s most iconic aria “Nessun dorma,” which was most famously performed by Luciano Pavarotti.
The opera’s investment is made possible by its supporters, who have generously donated because they understand the importance of being inclusive.
Opera Grand Rapids is in its 52nd year and is the longest continuously operating opera company in Michigan. It is also recognized as one of the premier mid-size operas in North America.
“The arts can change lives,” said Syrewicze, “and we want to be a part of that.”