Opera Theatre

Established in 1997, GVSU Opera Theatre was founded to provide GVSU students who sing and act an opportunity to work with stage and music directors from the world of professional opera and theatre. Since 2014, the season has been expanded to include 2 main stage productions per academic year featuring classically based operatic works as well as traditional and new music theatre. 

Students who are active in Opera Theatre throughout their undergraduate education have the opportunity to go to NYC to showcase for professional talent agents and casting directors as an opportunity to transition into the professional performance world after graduation.  For more information about this opportunity, contact Dale Schriemer.

original album artwork

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD by Jason Robert Brown

Songs for a New World is a unique hybrid of musical and song cycle by Jason Robert Brown. This set of 16 songs Brown describes as being about “one moment.  It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice or take a stand, or turn around and go back.” Brown’s music covers a broad range of styles, amongst them pop, gospel, cabaret, and jazz.

“Anyone interested in glimpsing the future of the American musical theater would do well to catch this new revue.  The songs, some of them close to miniature plays, capture a wide variety of moods, from sweetly contemplative to sturdily inspirational.” – The Hollywood Reporter
Casting for Songs for a New World includes solo and ensemble singing of all cast members and we will cast as many as 12 or as few as 8.  (Original cast includes 2 men and 2 women). All voice types are needed.

Audition by video: Submit a video of no more than 2 minutes of one or two song excerpts. Upload your video to YouTube, set to Unlisted, and send the link to both schriemd@gvsu.edu and bvhollins@gmail.com

Deadline for auditions:  Monday Nov 9, 2020 5 p.m.

Songs for a New World will be produced remotely, with music recording and filming per COVID restrictions and subsequently assembled in post-production for streaming. Rehearsals starting in January 2021.

Opera Theatre 2020 Update

From Artistic Director of Opera Theatre, Dale Schriemer

Amid the COVID health crisis performing arts have been largely put on hold.  Audiences can no longer gather and performers can’t hone their craft without them.  With every circumstance there are limitations and opportunities. See below how GVSU Opera Theatre has adapted to this crisis. 

NYC Showcase

Normally senior performing students from GVSU go the NYC to showcase their talent and make professional connections.  This last May with the industry shut down and traveling to NYC unsafe, I was looking for ways to replace that experience. I asked Joe Carroll, a Grand Rapids native, along with his wife Alex Finke, if they would be interested in sharing his experience and knowledge of the NYC theatre scene with GVSU performers. 

Both were enthusiastic about this opportunity.  We’ve planned a 4 week workshop for September, with 3 weeks working virtually and hopefully the last week face to face.  Joe and Alex know the challenges and areas of preparation needed for success and are eager to help GVSU students grow in their knowledge and understanding.

Joe and Alex’s work with GVSU performers is being generously supported by the Linn Maxwell Keller Professional Vocalist Experience Endowment.

Alex Finke

Alex Finke

joe carroll alex finke

From left to right: Joe Carroll, Paige Gadbois, Alex Finke, Casey Huls ('20), Alyssa Veldman, Elise Alvaro, Elise Endres, Dale Schriemer (GVSU faculty), Jacob Miller ('20), and Sofi Vazquez Maccio ('20).

Fall Opera

The next circumstance that limited student experience was the cancellation of fall opera performances of Orontea, a baroque opera by Antonio Cesti (1623-1669).

To that end GVSU Opera Theatre is bringing in famed soprano and baroque specialist Sherezade Panthaki.

We are hoping Sherry will be able to travel to GVSU in October for a weekend to workshop baroque style singing and improvisation. Then throughout October she will coach students remotely in their given roles.  Our goal is to give students a performance opportunity by live streaming their performances in November.

Past Productions

Amanda Haverdink singing Lost in the Stars

wonderful town

Wonderful Town (2019), Photo by Samantha Brigham

opera theatre

Sweeney Todd (2017)

1997 Amahl and the Night Visitors 
         directed by Laura Salazar

1999 Into the Woods 
         directed by Ben Krywocz

2000 Saturn Returns (Trouble in Tahiti, Myths and Hymns)
         directed by Ben Krywocz

2001 My Fair Lady
         directed by Ben Krywocz

2002 The Bartered Bride
directed by Isabel Milenski

2003 Guys and Dolls
         directed by Karen Babcock

2004 Street Scene
         directed by Isabel Milenski

2005 The Secret Garden
         directed by Karen Babcock

2006 Pirates of Penzance
         directed by Isabel Milenski

2007 Ragtime
         directed by Karen Babcock

2008 Candide
         directed by Will Graham

2009 Into the Woods
         directed by Karen Babcock

2010 The Boy who wouldn’t do his Homework (L’enfant et les Sortileges)
         directed by Isabel Milenski

2011 The Light in the Piazza
directed by Dorothy Danner

2012 The Three Penny Opera
         directed by Dorothy Danner

2013 Amahl and the Night Visitors
         directed by Dale Schriemer

directed by Dorothy Danner

2014 The Magic Flute
directed by Karen Babcock

         directed by Karen Babcock

2015 Dido and Anneas
         directed by Dale Schriemer

         directed by Christopher Chase Carter

2016 Gianni Schicchi
         directed by Dale Schriemer

         Sweeney Todd
         directed by Christopher Chase Carter

2017 "A Kurt Weill Cabaret"
         directed by Dale Schriemer

         directed by Christopher Chase Carter

2018 "Masquerade"
         directed by Karen Libman

         Wonderful Town
         directed by Christopher Chase Carter

2019 Mother Goose and The Naughty Boy
         directed by Dale Schriemer

         Working 2012
         directed by Ericka Mac

Opera Theatre News

chris carter

Photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

GV Magazine Feature on OT Alum/Director, Chris Carter

This month's Grand Valley Magazine features a story on MTD Alum Christopher Chase Carter ('09, Dance), a Chicago-based director and choreographer who is putting his GVSU degree to good use.

Read more about his journey at the link:

For more information, please contact Dale Schriemer.