THE PASSENGER
Unites our diverse community

Michigan Opera Theatre is honored to partner with a growing number of organizations and individuals, whose joint mission is to explore universal themes examined in The Passenger. This opera teaches us the danger of denying the humanity of others and the importance of remembering all victims of genocide. Each partner is helping to educate about The Passenger through a series of events and dialogues.

“The combined power of all these people is extraordinary. Art can unite. Music can make a difference; Opera can serve as a catalyst for productive dialogue. We honor our community partners who are joining us on this journey with The Passenger.”
– Wayne Brown, President & CEO of Michigan Opera Theatre

 

ORGANIZATIONS

Adat Shalom Synagogue • Arab American & Chaldean Council (ACC) • Arab American National Museum • Arab American Women’s Business Council • Armenian Mirror-Spectator • The Berman Center for the Performing Arts • The Bottle Crew • The Carr Center • Center for Neurological Studies • Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce • Chaldean Foundation • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History • Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago • Contract Professionals, Inc. • Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network • Detroit Jewish News • Detroit Public Television / WRCJ 90.9 FM • Farmington Community Library • Ferndale Public Schools • Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning • Friends of Polish Art • Grant Elementary/Middle School • Gender-Identity Network Alliance • Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan • Hadassah Greater Detroit Hartford Memorial Baptist Church • Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan • Heritage of Armenian Culture Radio Program • Holocaust Memorial Center • InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit • International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit • Italian Film Festival • Jewish Book Fair JCC SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish Enrichment) • Jewish Gay Network • Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network • Legacy Preservation Services • The Maple Theater • Michigan Philharmonic • Michigan Veterans Task Force • Michigan Youth Appreciation Foundation • National Arab Orchestra • National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section • Northville District Library • Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine • On My Own of Michigan • Pickles and Rye Deli • Planterra Conservatory • Ruth Ellis Center • Scarab Club • Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit • Temple Israel • Tri-County Educational Center Ferndale • University of Detroit Mercy • University of Michigan • Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan • WAY Charter Schools • Wayne State University •  Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach • WISDOM • Women’s Philanthropy, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit • Yad Ezra

 

INDIVIDUALS

Renee Ahee • Dan Alpert • Edmond Azadian • Professor Robert Berg • Nancy Bechek Bluth • Dr. Sabrina Black • Roz Blanck • Leonard Borman • Gerald Brisson • Edie Broida • Alexander Citron • Linda Collins • Roz Lullove Cooperman • Nada Dalgamouni • LaNesha Debardelaben • Edward Deeb • Nadine Deleury • Dave Devereaux • Judy Donlin • Charlene Dwyer • Dr. Herbert Eagle • Carole Ebner • Rabbi Dorit Edut • Isra El-bashir • Linda Gillum• Kathryn S. Grabowski • Charles Ezra Ferrell • Jeff Forrester • Susan Friedman • Susan Gertner • Mark Gutman • Dr. Fatma Müge Göçek • Maria Harris • Hannah Hartley •  Terry Hollander • Tim Hoy • Rev. Charmaine Johnson • Michael Ibrahim • Gail Katz • Velda Kelly • Rabbi Joseph Krakoff • Susan Lerch • Gary Lichtman • Carol Lipsitt • Judy Loebl • Kristie Lohmeier • Lea Luger • Dr. Howard Nathan Lupovitch • Susan Lutz • Susan Marwil • Lee Miller • Dan Misteravich • Gail Mitchell • Juanita Moore • Wendy Mutch • Mindy Nathan • Maj. Melvin H. Patton • Adina Pergament • Jerry Peterson • Shane Pliska • Dr. Deborah Smith Pollard • Oliver Ragsdale, Jr. • Faith Robinson Renner • Dr. Jennifer Rike • Pietro Sarcina • Dr. Sam Scheinfield • Sgt. Stephanie Shannon • Sharona Shapiro • Diane Shultz • Michelle Sider • Spencer Silk • Meredith Skowronski • Linda Soberman • Dr. Guy Stern • Beth Stewart •  Carol Surma • Omari Taylor • Judith R. Trepeck • Nabby Yono • John Zaretti • John Zielinski • Linda Zlotoff

PARTNER STATEMENTS

 

NADINE DELEURY AND VELDA KELLY
Chamber Music at the Scarab Club

The Passenger reminds us that humanity has the capacity for devastating cruelty, but collaborating on this project has also reminded us that there are so many wonderful, inspiring people in our city, who work tirelessly to make the world a better place. The power of this group is amazing and it’s been an honor to be a part of it!

 

 

BERNARD OFFEN
Holocaust Survivor, Auschwitz Prisoner B7815

The Passenger is a powerful opera that asks us to remember the past as we determine our future. We examine the lessons of the Holocaust, while celebrating heroism and resistance to inhumanity. Together, we are reminded that it is up to us to learn from the past, protect and honor our diverse cultures and personal stories.

 

 

JOHN ZIELINSKI
Lakehouse Studios

It is such an honor and pleasure to be able to participate in something so great! The Passenger really highlights the historical perseverance of human survival — A lesson that we should never forget.

 

 

JOHN ZARETTI
President, Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan

It is heartening to see the outpouring of interest and to be part of the joint efforts by everyone involved in support of the love of music and the repudiation of violence, of oppression, of intolerance. Bravo MOT and bravi tutti!

 

 

CHARLENE DWYER
Silverkey Productions

I am working on The Passenger Community Partners Project to help my children practice kindness. My hope is that they can help end the cycle of hatred and violence that seems to be consuming the world today. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust; and The Passenger opera is an artful remembrance of man’s inhumanity to man.

 

 

CHARLES FERRELL
Director, Public Programs

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is proud to join the Michigan Opera Theatre and its partners in supporting The Passenger that highlights man’s inhumanity to man. Over 100,000,000 Africans were extinguished during the Trans-Atlantic Enslavement Trade. King Leopold II of Belgium was responsible for the deaths and mutilation of 10 million Congolese Africans during the late 1800’s. The Native American population numbered 10,000,000 and was decimated to 300,000. The German Nazis murdered 6,000,000 Jews in gas chambers. Today, let’s learn, unite, and defeat forces of genocide.

 

 

SHARONA SHAPIRO

I believe that we all have the responsibility to combat evil in this world. The message “Never Again” must not be forgotten. It must be repeated in all ways and in all places. It is our obligation to ourselves and to humanity.

 

 

NANCY BECHEK BLUTH
President, Hadassah Greater Detroit

Hadassah is proud to be part of a community that values and remembers “never to forget” man’s inhumanity to man and works towards tolerance and respect.

 

 

LEA A. LUGER
Yad Ezra, Executive Director

This opera reminds us that humanity acts inhumanly at times and we must work hard to stop the cycle which continues to threaten our efforts for a more compassionate world.

 

 

RENÉE AHEE AAWBC
Chief Executive Officer

The Arab American Women’s Business Council is proud to partner with the Michigan Opera Theatre in its production of The Passenger and many other diverse community organizations for important dialog and bridge building in stark contrast to the human hatred our world is experiencing today.

 

 

SUSAN BENSON FRIEDMAN

I support The Passenger and the work of the partners because of its universal theme. We are all “passengers” in life with various “obstacles” to overcome.

 

 

SUSAN GERTNER
Executive Director National Council of Jewish Women

This Opera is important to National Council of Jewish Women, for one of our guiding principles states, “The continuity of the Jewish people must be assured from generation to generation through Jewish education, culture, values, and respect among all streams of Judaism.”

 

 

DR. SAM SCHIENFIELD

It is important to remember our past so that we can plan our future.

 

 

CAROL SURMA
President, Friends of Polish Art

Friends of Polish Art supports The Passenger because it is a major artistic achievement by a Polish composer based on the work of a Polish author and survivor of the Nazi German camp at Auschwitz and because The Passenger presents Polish themes as well as the universal theme of humanity’s need for vigilant compassion and the moral resolve to resist the evils of tyranny.

 

 

KRISTIE LOHMEIER
Contract Professionals, Inc

It is our belief in the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle; in order to grow, thrive and ultimately triumph. Our unyielding belief that standing up for others when they can’t or acting as a voice for the voiceless aligns with the message of The Passenger. It is not a choice but an obligation to fight for what is right. We are humbled and grateful to be a part of this community movement.

 

 

GAIL KATZ
InterFaith Leadership Council

The Passenger is so important today to spread the message that we all need to work together to fight the hate and fear in our world, and bring diverse people together to dialogue and increase respect and understanding!

 

 

ROSALIND LULLOVE COOPERMAN
Creator of Community Partner Initiative

For over a five year period, I filmed survivors at the concentration camps. Each, in their own way, said that they needed to stay alive so the story of the Holocaust could be told. Our partner collaboration, of organizations and individuals, speaks volumes that we are working together to teach the lessons of the Holocaust. By doing so, we continue to generate dialogue that will protect our future within a mutual connection. The collaboration and dedication of the MOT has been a powerful experience that will always stay with me.

 

 

SUSAN LERCH
Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan

The Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan (HFM) exists to enhance the quality of life for all affected by bleeding disorders, many who were directly impacted by HIV/ AIDS. Our community understands the significance of collaboration and unity in the face of fear and misunderstanding — we are grateful to the Michigan Opera Theatre’s leadership in supporting diversity through partnership.

 

 

DR. RANDALL BENSON
Center for Neurological Studies

Our diverse community also includes individuals who suffer with close head injuries. The acceptance of every individual, including those with disabilities, speaks of our humanity. The lessons of the Holocaust have taught us that every individual has the right to be part of the community. We are proud to be among the partners.

 

 

OMARI TAYLOR
Gleaners

Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan is honored to be a community partner of Michigan Opera Theatre’s The Passenger. Every meal Gleaners distributes makes a difference for all of life’s passengers, making it easier to study, find work, recover from illness, or face difficult challenges. No one should have to go hungry, and together we’re reaching our neighbors with the nutritious food they need to achieve a brighter future.

 

 

RUTH DANIELS
Maple Theater

The Maple Theater is always excited to partner with the MOT. We are thrilled to be participating in this event. The Passenger has brought us together and the collaboration of all partners will keep the dialogue of our humanity alive in our community.

 

 

PROFESSOR GAIL MITCHELL
University of Detroit Mercy

It is a privilege to work with MOT for an event at the University of Detroit Mercy about the themes and realities of the Holocaust. “The Passenger” will imbue the audience with the realization of what happens when humankind joins a horrific movement, leading to the death and destruction of so many fellow human beings.

 

 

DR. SABRINA D. BLACK
Author, “Live Right Now”

We have all at some point been “The Passenger” on this journey of life and experienced pain and suffering. This phenomenal production represents the voices of those who have sacrificed that we may remember our history and be a voice of hope, liberty and justice for future generations. It has been a great joy to be a member of the planning committee for The Passenger as we have been privileged to engage with one another’s cultures and contribute to the rebirth and reconnection of our global community.

 

 

ROBERT FOLBERG, MD
Founding Dean

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB), the newest medical school in Southeast Michigan, offers a unique liberal arts approach toward teaching the science of medicine and is therefore grateful to the Michigan Opera Theatre for allowing us to be a community engagement partner in the MOT’s presentation of The Passenger. Our event was hosted on November 11, Veterans Day. The program at OUWB included a focus on the victims of the Holocaust and on the health issues of the concentration camp liberators because the men and women in our armed forces, to this day, serve not only those in combat but also civilians who suffer from the effects of inhumanity.

 

 

SPENCER A. SILK
Board Member, On My Own

The Passenger was the catalyst for a diverse ethnic group of individuals and organizations to come together with a common goal. Forums were created to discuss the lesson of man’s inhumanity to man so that it will never be forgotten and not to be repeated. The Passenger, its message and the terrific energy of the MOT has generated an environment across the area to bring better understanding of our shared concerns. Let the dialogue continue.

 

 

ARAB AMERCAN NATIONAL MUSEUM

The powerful artistry of The Passenger and the dialogue it fosters exemplify and illuminate the shared struggles and the mutual challenges faced by immigrants and communities around the world. For the last 10 years, the Arab American National Museum has empowered Arab Americans to tell their own stories in their own words, and then presented those real-life experiences within the context of American society. In the spirit of understanding and respecting the range of human experience, it is our honor and pleasure to support this production.

 

 

BETH STEWART
Executive Director, Michigan Philharmonic

The Michigan Philharmonic is proud to partner with the Michigan Opera Theatre on the MOT’s groundbreaking performance of The Passenger commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The opera is a musical expression of the tragic events of that time as well as joyous celebration of life and forgiveness. This opera performance is an illustration of how the arts can move us to remember, to think and to act on behalf of victims of genocide around the world both past and present. Bravo!