Lyric Opera of Chicago will present PROVING UP
Lyric Opera of Chicago will present the acclaimed chamber opera by the award-winning team of composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek: To prove himself, performed at Goodman’s Owen Theater, January 22-30, 2022. This gripping drama is a supernatural and haunting tale of Nebraska settlers in the 1870s and their dreams of “proving” and securing title to the land that they colonized. The opera takes audiences to a world where the requirement of a single glass window law can shatter a family’s hopes and dreams, and what happens when those dreams turn into nightmares.
This is a lyrical debut for an award-winning team. Proving Up is the latest collaboration from one of the most sought-after creative teams in the opera world: composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek. Their 2016 opera Breaking the Waves won first prize for Best New Opera from the Music Critics Association of North America.
One of the most prominent American composers of her generation, Missy mazzoli recently completed a term as Composer in Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a prolific composer of operas, orchestral and chamber works, and also composes for film and television (you may have heard her work in Amazon Prime’s Mozart in the Jungle). Ahead of Proving Up’s Chicago premiere, she was named Composer of the Year by Musical America in the world.
Royce Vavrek is the literary voice behind some of the most heralded recent American operas including Dog Days and JFK with composer David T. Small, 27 and A House Without a Christmas Tree with the composer Ricky ian gordon, and Angel’s Bone with composer Du Yun, who received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music. He also has enduring creative partnerships with composers Gregory Spears and Paola Prestini.
Introducing another side of Lyric’s musical director, Enrique Mazzola. Following his triumphs at the helm of Macbeth and The Elixir of Love, Mazzola returns to the podium for the third time this season to direct the first contemporary work of his tenure as Music Director. A chamber orchestra of 13 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra will perform Mazzoli’s evocative score, which includes eight guitars in the percussion section. Woodwinds and brass also double on harmonica.
Director James darrah, who directed Mazzoli’s award-winning original production and Vavrek’s opera Breaking the Waves, makes his lyrical debut with an atmospheric production that transforms the Goodman’s intimate Owen Theater into the plains of Nebraska. His collaborators include the scenographer Adam riggcostume designer Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko, and lighting designer Pablo Santiago, all in their Lyric debut.
The cast features a diverse mix of new and old artists. The cast of the opera is headed by Talise Trévigné (Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking in Lyric’s 2019/20 Season) as Ma Zegner and Edouard Parks (Valentin as Faust in Lyric’s 2017/18 season) as Pa Zegner and also features a former Ryan Opera Center Annie rosen (seven roles with Lyric since the 2015/16 season) as Taller Sister. Miles Mykkanen as Miles Zegner, Boya Wei as Little Sister and Andrew harris like the Sodbuster.
Only four chances to see this acclaimed work: January 22, 26, 28 and 30, 2022.
Lyric Unlimited, Lyric’s department of learning and community initiatives, will host post-show discussions after the performance on January 22 with members of the Proving Up creative team and on January 26 and 28 with members of the distribution.
The show will be presented in English with English texts projected. It lasts 1 hour and 25 minutes, without an intermission.
Performed at the Owen Theater at the Goodman Theater, 170 North Dearborn Street, Chicago.
Adapted from Karen Russell’s short story “Proving Up”, part of her Vampires in the Lemon Grove collection. Co-commissioned by the Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and the Miller Theater at Columbia University. © 2018 G. Schirmer, Inc.
Lyric’s health and safety protocols will apply to performances of Proving Up at the Goodman. For up-to-date information, visit lyricopera.org/safety.