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The New York Times: An Opera Reaches the American Dream’s Brooding Heart

On September 26, Miller Theatre's 30th Anniversary Season opened with the New York premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Proving Up.  Critic Zachary Woolfe, in his review for The New York Times, praised Proving Up as "well worth hearing," noting that it is a "tense and creepy journey into the heart of Manifest Destiny’s darkness" that "instructs us, teeth clenched, that the American dream eludes even — especially — those who give everything to gain it."

"As in her 2016 opera “Breaking the Waves,” Ms. Mazzoli conjures bleakness with an uncanny, confident mixture of instrumental savagery and eerie lightness..."

"Even at the Miller, a traditional proscenium theater, the opera insinuates itself under the skin. The story is set entirely in the past, but its depiction of the stubborn delusions that fueled American expansionism — and the ways in which “proving up” comes to mean both having a home and being a virile man — feels entirely current."

Read the full review.

“Review: An Opera Reaches the American Dream's Brooding Heart" by Zachary Woolfe for The New York Times. Published September 27, 2018.