Song & Dance: An Opera GR and GR Ballet Collaboration

The classical arts have a special relationship to one another. In the world of grand opera, orchestration, song, dance and theatre all come together to create the final larger-than-life product. Take, for example, Opera Grand Rapids 2007 production of Carmen, which featured both the Grand Rapids Ballet on the stage and the Grand Rapids Symphony in the orchestra pit.

When marrying art forms, there are limitless creative possibilities. In combination, we create experiences that are richer than each independent art form.

On June 8, members of Grand Rapids Ballet join forces with Opera Grand Rapids’ Emerging Artists to share a unique coming together of art forms. Opera Fusion–a performance featuring a juxtaposition of operatic vocals, popular music, and unconventional orchestrations–includes elements of opera, visual art and dance.

Dale Schriemer, Opera Grand Rapids Emerging Artists Program Director, says that the element of dance in the performance will help to bring to life the narrative behind the music.

“What is suggested in the music and lyrics is realized visually by Yuka Oba’s choreography. We see the intense human drama where life and death meet.”

Providing choreography for the performance is Grand Rapids Ballet dancer Yuka Oba, a member of the company since 2011. Developing the choreography alongside the music was a new challenge for her.

“It was very interesting and challenging to build choreography around the opera music. When I choreograph a piece based on music, I usually choreograph dance movements that look like the dancer is playing the instrument, and for the parts where the singer’s voice is the strongest, I choose to choreograph simpler movement. Because opera already has such a strong expressive power, I realized that the dancer and singer each have an important, independent role to play—this is where the balance between the two becomes the magic of the piece.”

Other company dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet performing are Micaelina Ritschl, Connie Flachs, Clare Schellenberg, and Steven Houser.

Members of the Grand Rapids Ballet rehearse for “Opera Fusion”

Opera Fusion will feature Opera Grand Rapids’ talented young artists juxtaposing traditional arias with different musical genres. In addition to performances of your favorite opera arias, fresh operatic vocals will mash with popular songs to create surprisingly beautiful sounds. Tickets to Opera Fusion are now sale now through Ticketmaster or the Opera Grand Rapids Box Office, 616.451.2741. Learn more about Opera Fusion.