Missy Mazzoli | Starting Off in 2018
26th January 2018
The Washington National Opera premiered Missy Mazzoli's third opera, Proving Up, with a libretto by her Breaking the Waves and Song from the Uproar collaborator Royce Vavrek, on January 19 2018, directed by Alison Moritz. Critical acclaim was immediate: 'as powerful as it is bleak, it cannot leave audiences cold' — Washington Post; 'telling a uniquely American story by two of the most persuasive voices in American new opera' — Parterre Box; 'a chamber opera worthy for the 21st century' — DC Theatre Scene; 'the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater was electrified with excitement for their newest work' — Schmopera.
The WNO's American Opera Initiative co-commissioned Proving Up with Opera Omaha and New York's Miller Theater. Opera Omaha's ONE Festival presents it in April in a new production directed by James Darrah; Miller Theater launches its thirtieth season with Proving Up in September.
Proving Up is about the American Dream, told through the story of Nebraskan homesteaders in the 1870s. Families dream of obtaining the deed to the land they've settled, 'proving up'. The Homestead Act requires five years of harvest, a sod house dwelling, and most elusive: a glass window. Ma and Pa Zegner send their child Miles to share this valuable item with distant neighbors who expect a visit from a government inspector. Miles meets the ghost of a farmer driven mad by the requirements of 'proving up'. The window becomes a broken mirror reflecting great tragedy.
'Songs from the Operas' at the Laguna Beach Music Festival
On February 10 the Philharmonic Society of Orange County premieres its co-commission with the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago: Mazzoli's setting of arias for tenor, violin, viola, and piano from Proving Up and Breaking the Waves. The first hearing of Songs from the Operas is part of the 2018 Laguna Beach Music Festival in California. Nicholas Phan is the vocalist.
European Premiere of 'Song from the Uproar'
During June 2018 Musiktheatertage Wien will host the European premiere of Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt in Vienna. Soprano Chiara Osella joins Ensemble Eutopia and the festival's chorus led by conductor Matteo Manzitti.
Down Under with 'Dark with Excessive Bright'
Dark with Excessive Bright, for double bass and chamber orchestra, the first concerto by Mazzoli, will premiere February 1 2018. The Australian Chamber Orchestra and Maxime Bibeau, double bass, will perform it across the continent, concluding in Sydney on February 14 and 16. Aurora, the British chamber orchestra and co-commissioner with the ACO, will give the concerto its UK premiere.
On the tail of the 2017 BBC Proms' exciting European premiere of Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), Mazzoli's 2018 orchestral performances include River Rouge Transformation by the North Carolina Symphony in March and its Swiss premiere by the Basel Sinfonietta in June, and Violent, Violent Sea by the Knoxville Symphony in April.