Missy Mazzoli on Proving Up

Mar 13, 2018

Opera Omaha's world premiere opera is only weeks away!

Read about it from the composer herself!

Proving Up, based on a brilliant story by Karen Russell, explores the origins, realities, and fictions of the American “rags to riches” mythology. The musical language of this opera draws on traditional “Americana” – wheezy harmonicas, guitars, and old-timey fiddle tunes – combined with dream-like, warped orchestral textures, haunting harpsichord gestures, and harsh percussion samples that reflect a dry and inhospitable frontier. Each member of the Zegner family represents an American who has been erased from history, lost to fate and overcome by circumstance.

It is my hope that Proving Up can pose provocative questions about the American Dream: In a country where we imagine all success to be earned, is failure also earned? Could a hardworking American do everything “right” and still fail, still disappear? What happens when conditions become so extreme that the only way to achieve the American dream is to resort to cruelty, thievery, and manipulation? Do we as a society need this “dream” to continue, even in a brutal, corrupted state? Why?

Missy Mazzoli, August 2017

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