Opera Grand Rapids Artistic Director, Maestro James Meena, is bringing international opera stars to the local opera stage.

Opera Grand Rapids attendees can experience big-stage talent, without the big-stage prices. From the chorus, to comprimario (“small supporting role” in opera terminology), to Grand Rapids-native and renowned performer, Madelaine Lane, Opera Grand Rapids offers great entertainment.

“I’m never more joyful than when I’m singing,” says Madelaine Lane, who grew up in Grand Rapids, and frequented the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre before she began opera in college. “It’s just this moment that everything else in your life falls away and you become a vessel for bringing to life something that was created 200 or 300 years ago.”

[Opera storylines] are about humanity, and they prove that the struggles we have as humans are universal. We’re able to reflect a little better on our struggles thanks to the stories told in famous operas.

DeVos Performance Hall came alive with Opera Grand Rapids' April 2016 performance of "Romeo and Juliet."

Photo Credit: Joel Bissell, courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids


Timeless art

Madelaine Lane explains that the themes and struggles within opera stories dating back hundreds of years are still the same struggles we have today.

“[Opera storylines] are about humanity, and they prove that the struggles we have as humans are universal,” says Lane. “We’re able to reflect a little better on our struggles thanks to the stories told in famous operas.”

Meeting Madelaine Lane, you’d never guess that her powerful, on-stage vocals and embodiment of such emotional themes could come from such a calm individual.

“Opera takes [performance] to its extreme. You’re wearing a corset and a bodice, and you’re trying to sing without a microphone, usually in a different language, as you’re lying on the ground next to a live orchestra...” says Lane while laughing.

The act of storytelling: Connecting a profession with a passion

Always up for perfecting her craft, Lane travels to Holland, Michigan, four times a week to train. She even relates opera to her daytime profession as a trial lawyer.

“When you’re in a courtroom, you are playing a role. How you present and how you perform in that role is important to how the jury understands the whole case. Opera is very similar,” says Lane.

Along with the challenge of the performance, Lane says she’s drawn to the outpouring of emotion within every opera performance.

“You just don’t hear it but you feel it,” says Lane. “We can identify with a tragic figure. We can identify with someone who falls in love for the first time…those thoughts and ideas surpass the centuries and we understand them."

Opera Grand Rapids performing "The Marriage of Figaro" in May 2018.

Photo Credit: Joel Bissell, courtesy of Opera Grand Rapids


Just one piece of the puzzle...

Those themes and stories provide a gift to the audience, and it’s a gift that Lane recognizes is thanks to a team.

“I’m one part of that massive story...Everyone is just as necessary to make the story sing,” says Lane.

Her dedication and passion for practicing and embodying her characters has paid off, as she’s traveled around the country to perform with other opera companies at the New York Lyric Opera Theatre and Carnegie Hall.

“It’s inspirational. As a singer, you always want to aspire to be better, but you also want to aspire to rise to the level of the great singers you’re performing with,” she says. “It’s a gift.”

This year’s lineup

To get a glimpse of world class opera, attend an Opera Grand Rapids mainstage production.

This year’s lineup includes:

For more information, or to get the best seats, visit the Opera Grand Rapids website, or call the Box Office: (616) 451-2741 ext. 3.

Header photo courtesy of Toldeo Opera, photo by Grand Lubell
 

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