Mazzoli Explores American Dream Fragile As Glass

NEW YORK – In her latest opera, Proving Up, Missy Mazzoli again balances on the grim divide between life and death. Her two previous operas have offered solitary terror in the desert and a study of sex and death in a cramped Scottish town. Proving Up, the dark side of Little House on the Prairie, takes place on the bleak plains of Nebraska, where a post-Civil War family of homesteaders embodies the crumbling of the American Dream.

Missy Mazzoli is riding a wave of honors and opportunities.

Mazzoli, whose Breaking the Waves received the inaugural Award for Best New Opera from the Music Critics Association of North America, is currently composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; she is also the first woman to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.