News & Press

The New York Times

May 14, 2018

A New ‘Horror Opera’ Opens Miller Theater’s Next Season

With her dark, disturbing “Breaking the Waves,” Missy Mazzoli established herself as an opera composer to watch. Now New Yorkers will get a chance to hear her latest work, “Proving Up,” which will open the 30th-anniversary season of the Miller Theater at Columbia University.

“Proving Up” is, like “Breaking the Waves,” based on a nightmarish tale, this one a short story by Karen Russell about homesteaders in Nebraska after the Civil War struggling with the American dream. Another collaboration with the librettist Royce Vavrek, the new work was described as ushering in a new genre of “horror opera” by The Washington Post.

READ MORE

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

April 16, 2018

An Opera Festival's Local Focus

Opera Omaha’s inaugural ONE Festival, running through April 22, embraces opera’s roots with its tentpole production, Cherubini’s Medea, which plays next weekend in the Orpheum Theater. But more importantly, the festival expands the boundaries of the form with artist-led events ( James Darrah is its overall artistic director) and relates it explicitly to this Midwestern city. Proving Up, a harrowing 75-minute new opera by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, performed at Kaneko, an arts center in a converted warehouse, is a dark meditation on the region’s past.

Read More

THE TORONTO STAR

May 26, 2018

Opera Omaha is making a name for itself with festivals, productions

Granted, Omaha may be home to Warren Buffett, but home to a noteworthy opera company, an enterprise that recently mounted a festival capped by a significant world premiere? The days when musical headlines had to be made in New York and a few other culture capitals have obviously gone now, thanks to a continent-wide flourishing of the arts on both sides of the 49th parallel. Opera Omaha is a relatively small company, the only one in the state of Nebraska, its budget a fraction of the size of the Canadian Opera Company’s. And yet, my April visit was the third — over a considerable number of years — to attend a world premiere.

Read More

OPERAWIRE

April 27, 2018

Medea and Contemporary Ideas Combine for Intriguing Overall Concept

Opera Omaha was handed a dilemma in its inaugural ONE Festival when it was forced to replace the title role in Fiona Shaw’s version of “Medea,” a co-production with the Wexford Festival Opera, due to illness less than three weeks before the show.

Read More

MUSICAL AMERICA WORLDWIDE

April 27, 2018

Omaha's ONE Festival, Part II

Proving Up, by composer-librettist-director team Missy Mazzoli, Royce Vavrek, and James Darrah, was staged at the ONE Festival in the unconventional KANEKO space. The second opera was presented in the elegant Orpheum Theater dating from 1927, where the main stage season takes place. But even that, like the Mazzoli piece, was not standard rep: Cherubini's Medea (in the Italian version), known by many opera lovers solely from Maria Callas's famous recording under Bernstein.

Read More

I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

April 26, 2018

Mazzoli and Vavrek's Proving Up at Opera Omaha ONE Festival

"A makeshift sawhorse, an oval stock tank, miniature flowers, and a collection of liquor bottles dotted the long thrust stage filled with dirt in The KANEKO in Omaha, Nebraska as the lights came up for the opening scene of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up as part of Opera Omaha’s April 2018 ONE Festival. The audience sitting in a hodgepodge collection of kitchen chairs on both sides of the narrow stage slowly noticed the miniature flowers sat atop two small graves in the dirt as John Moore‘s baritone voice resonated from offstage singing the prologue – an arrangement by Mazzoli of “Uncle Sam’s Farm (1862)”

Read More

MUSICAL AMERICA WORLDWIDE

April 26, 2018

Opera Omaha's Inaugural ONE Festival Proves Up to Its Ambitions

The only professional opera company in Nebraska, Opera Omaha crowned its 60th-anniversary season by launching a brand-new, genuinely insight-provoking festival this month. ONE Festival, which takes its name from the abbreviated city and state, culminated over the weekend (April 20-22) in back-to-back presentations that made it possible to take in all of the main offerings.

Read More

OPERAWIRE

April 24, 2018

Proving Up : Mazzoli and Vavrek Masterfully Explore Migration Hardship in the Heartland

Is there a better way to spend an opera festival in Nebraska than to see an opera set in Nebraska? My weekend at the inaugural ONE Festival presented by Opera Omaha was highlighted by seeing the brand-new “Proving Up” by the dynamic duo of Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek on two occasions.

Read More

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

April 23, 2018

Review: Opera Omaha's 'Medea' is a hauntingly beautiful production

“If walls could talk...” or so the saying goes, and they most often don’t, but sometimes they sing. At the Orpheum Theater on Friday night, Opera Omaha presented Luigi Cherubini’s “Medea.” Shadows sang and voices danced as the adaptation of a 2,400-year-old myth came to life chillingly on the set and its towering walls.

Read More

KVNO NEWS

April 19, 2018

Opera Omaha Presents “Medea”

Baritone Weston Hurt has played many of the principal roles in popular operas by Verdi, Puccini, and Donizetti, and now he’s taking on Creonte in Cherubini’s Medea, Opera Omaha’s next performance as part of the ONE Festival.

Read More

SCHMOPERA

April 17, 2018

Confusing & Creepy: Proving Up

The ambiguity of the ending is true to the horror movie sensibilities. I was confused and creeped out, and I loved every minute of it.

Read More

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

April 11, 2018

Opera "Proving Up" tells Nebraska Story

For staffers and supporters of Opera Omaha, this year’s inaugural ONE Festival is the culmination of a dream. The centerpiece of the event, a new opera called Proving Up, itself centers on a dream, though it’s a dream that for many is far less attainable than was the festival. "Proving Up is about the harsh realities of the American Dream, about the role of fate in our destinies and also about people who are erased from history,” the opera’s composer, Missy Mazzoli, said in program notes.

Read More

KVNO NEWS

April 9, 2018

Opera Omaha Introduces ONE Festival

Opera Omaha introduces the ONE festival this month, a series of performances that experiments with the production, aesthetic, and the setting of opera. Expect some classics, like Cherubini’s Medea and Handel’s Ariodante but also new works and premiers performed in some nontraditional venues.

Read More

I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

March 29, 2018

5 Questions to James Darrah (Artistic Director, ONE Festival)

When it comes to the words “trailblazing” and “influential” in terms of directing new opera, James Darrah‘s name is never far. Darrah is spree-like directing the new theatre and opera world’s most talked about productions. From Missy Mazzoli’s operatic adaptation of Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia and the Prototype Festival in New York to the direction and design for a music video for mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato on her new album In War and Peace on Warner Classics/ Erato, Darrah is creating the look and feel of new opera for a generation of opera-goers.

Read More

BROADWAY WORLD

December 20, 2017

Opera Omaha Launches Inaugural ONE Festival

Opera Omaha, Nebraska's sole opera company, celebrates its 60th anniversary season with the launch of ONE Festival (derived from Omaha, NE), running April 6-22, 2018. Expanding Opera Omaha's commitment to innovative work, the inaugural ONE Festival, led by Festival Artistic Director James Darrah, includes over fifty multi-disciplinary performances, installations, conversations and explorations of the operatic form.

Read More

OMAHA WORLD HERALD

April 20, 2017

After debut at Omaha festival, opera set in Nebraska will play in NYC

A work commissioned for Opera Omaha’s new ONE Festival is destined for New York City. Proving Up, about a family’s loss and isolation in rural Nebraska after the Civil War, will be presented by the Miller Theatre at Columbia University after its run in Omaha next year.

Read More

OMAHA WORLD HERALD

February 10, 2017

Opera Omaha's 2017-18 season features world premiere set in early Nebraska

A world-premiere opera set in post-Civil War Nebraska is the centerpiece of the 2017-18 season for Opera Omaha. Proving Up, with music by Missy Mazzoli and libretto by Royce Vavrek, is one of two pieces that will launch the opera company’s new spring festival in 2018.

Read More

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

April 22, 2016

An Opera Company Matures in the Midwest

Opera Omaha is a small company with big ambitions. It is embracing the latest trends in American opera - community engagement, alternative venues, contemporary operas and other kinds of forward-thinking artistic programming - along with standard repertory. Last week, the company announced a new spring festival as part of its 60th anniversary season in 2017-18...

Read More

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

April 11, 2016

To mark 60th birthday, Opera Omaha will launch spring festival in 2018

For its 60th birthday, Opera Omaha is giving local music fans a big present. The company will launch an annual spring festival in 2018 — its diamond anniversary year — and add a fourth opera to its season each year during the month-long event. In addition, the first festival will feature a world-premiere opera set in 1877 on the Nebraska prairie by the up-and-coming writing team of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek.

Read More