Mizzy Mazzoli’s latest opera The Listeners is now available on the OperaVision channel on Youtube. It’s a Den Norske Opera production recorded in Oslo a couple of months ago and it’s very interesting. There are several short trailers etc on the channel that you can use to get an idea of what it’s about and what it sounds like.
Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s opera Song From the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt is based on the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt; a Swiss explorer, mystic and writer who roamed the deserts of North Africa before her untimely death at the age of 27. It was conceived as a multi-media opera and staged as such at The Kitchen in New York in 2012. A studio CD recording was made by the original cast soon after. One can get a s sense for the look and feel of the stage piece from the trailer for the original show which is still available on Youtube.
Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up is an 80 minute opera consisting of a prologue, six scenes and an epilogue. The libretto is by Royce Vavrek after a short story by Karen Russell. It was recorded after a production at Opera Omaha in 2018. One might perhaps expect an opera about homesteading in Nebraska to be a worthy piece of uplifting Americana but nothing could be further from the truth here. The Prologue, it’s true, is based on a 19th century popular song Uncle Sam’s Farm which appears to offer the American Dream to all comers but after that we get a surrealistic tale of drought, despair, drinking and death all based on the search for an elusive glass window that will allow the Zegner family to “prove up” and gain title to their land under the 1862 Homestead Act. What then, of the American Dream?
Jacqueline is a new opera by librettist Royce Vavrek and composer Luna Pearl Woolf. It will premiere at Tapestry next month. It deals with the life and career of cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Du Pré was a celebrity in her own life time. She made her Wigmore Hall debut at age 16 in 1961 and quickly established herself as one of the all time greatest exponents of her instrument with a rather special relationship with the Elgar concerto. Marriage to Daniel Barenboim, conversion to Judaism and “membership” in the rather remarkable circle of musical Jews in New York followed. Her physical ability to play the cello though began to decline in 1971 and a formal diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was made in 1973. She lived for another 14 years but never played again in public.