A Conversation with Eve Summer

Opera Grand Rapids welcomes Eve Summer back as the stage director for Don Giovanni. We asked her a few questions about contemporary stagings of classic operas, how Don Giovanni relates to current audiences, and her advice for first-time opera goers. Read on for her thoughts.

Don Giovanni
October 22 & 24, 2021
DeVos Performance Hall

What inspires you to create contemporary settings of standard operas?

Eve Summer Connection. When we release ourselves from the responsibility of recreating period appropriate movement we can focus on the essence of the story, and tap into the most direct way to communicate with our scene partners. For me, contemporary settings are primarily about removing barriers between the artist and the character – fully inhabiting them without a layer of period gesture, mannerism, carriage. Even just not having a bulky costume between you and your lover makes a huge difference.Read More >

At OGR, every month is Women’s Month

We are Women! Hear us Roar Sing!

Jennifer Zetlan as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Scalia/Ginsburg at OGR 

While women are gaining ground in the fight for equality and professional advancement, there is much still to be done…especially in the arts. According to an Opera America research study, historically there remains a static, very low (less than 8 percent) ratio of female general directors at the companies with the largest budgets. The GD/CEO percentages at mid-size companies have shown more variance but remain on average between 17 to 21 percent over the last 16 years. Performing arts organizations just don’t seem to select female leaders.

Opera Grand Rapids didn’t get the memo. Read More >

A Message from Executive Director, Emilee Syrewicze

Watch Emilee’s video message.

Dear Opera GR Patrons,

The Board of Directors is prioritizing the safety of the OGR staff, patrons and audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The staff is working remotely while sheltering-in-place until April 13. We are fortunate that technology allows us to conduct normal operations and run a box office from our homes, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We are rescheduling our spring events and Productions. 

Read More >

Opera Grand Rapids Transforms Scalia/Ginsburg into Virtual Performance

In Face of Global Pandemic, Opera Grand Rapids Transforms Scalia/Ginsburg into Virtual Performance

The Show Will Go On: Grand Rapids Company One of First in World to Stage Comic Opera

Grand Rapids, Michigan, March 13, 2020 – While arts organizations around the country canceled performances and closed their doors, Opera Grand Rapids found a way to bring a performance safely to its community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather than risk gathering a large audience in a confined space, the company received unprecedented permission from composer and librettist Derrick Wang to record and share the performance of Scalia/Ginsburg with ticket holders. The cast will perform in front of a very small audience at the Betty Van Andel Opera Center, where the production will be recorded by Aria Show Technology and then virtually broadcast to ticket holders.

Read the full press release


Meet OGR Board Member, Kyle Van Andel.

Where are you originally from?
Grand Rapids, MI

What do you do for a living?
There isn’t only one thing that I would say I do for a living, as I been able to manage my time in a way that allows me to wear more than one hat so to say. For the last few years I have been working in marketing, but currently represent as an Ambassador for Amway. Additionally, I serve with my immediate family as a member of my family’s foundation. Lastly I have become more and more engaged with the local community; by working closely with the amazing people over at Kids’ Food Basket, now the Opera of Grand Rapids, and most recently as a board member of the John Ball Zoo. It’s a thrilling time for Grand Rapids and I am excited to be increasingly more a part of it.

My favorite hobby is most definitely travelling. The World is a beautiful and vastly changing place that offers so much to see and to experience. I believe we learn the most by immersing ourselves in other cultures and places, making ourselves uncomfortable and pushing ourselves. Travelling affords me with the best way to learn without being stuck in a classroom. It is also a nice way to experience warm weather in the midst of a Michigan winter….

Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?
I have a number of favorite places to travel depending on the purpose but usually my favorite is the next place that I have never visited prior. I love to get lost in cities and experience the culture whether it be food, fashion, historical sites, etc. Although, a few reoccurring favorites that I cherish spending time in are London, Tokyo, and the British Virgin Islands.

What/Who got you involved with OGR? (Past and Current)
My family has for many years now, been big supporters of Opera Grand Rapids. It was near and dear to my grandmother, Betty Van Andel, which continued onto my parent’s supporting the organization to this day. This legacy inspired me to say yes, when my mother asked me if I would consider me to become more involved with OGR.
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