In Thursday’s (6/18) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk reports, “Opera Grand Rapids broke ground today on the Betty Van Andel Opera Center, the company’s first permanent home. For most of its 42-year history, the company has presented operas by Mozart and Puccini in the comfort of DeVos Performance Hall. But it has managed its affairs from rented offices, stored props and costumes in the homes of staff and volunteers, and rehearsed for productions such as Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ in vacant warehouses and empty storefronts. The company’s days of operating as a traveling caravan soon will be over. Artistic director Robert Lyall called the $2.25 million building the ‘missing piece’ in the company’s operations. … Philanthropists Jay and Betty Van Andel in 2001 gave a $1 million lead gift to build the 14,000-square foot building, which will include a rehearsal hall, practice rooms, costume shop and storage facilities. … Dedication of the building is tentatively planned for February 2010, but occupancy could come as early as the end of this year, according to Opera Grand Rapids executive director Mike Havlicek.” The Grand Rapids Symphony provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids.

Posted June 19, 2009