On Wednesday, December 16th, University Opera Theatre & University Symphony Orchestra will premiere a digital production of the opera, Proving Up. Composed by Missy Mazolli, this deeply unsettling work follows a family in their quest to bring their ‘American Dream’ to fruition. Taking place in 1870s Nebraska at the dawn of the Homestead Act, the chamber opera brings audience members on a thrilling rollercoaster of emotions as they watch the family desperately try to obtain a deed to their land by “proving up”.
The performance was filmed in early November over several nights at the Power Center for the Performing Arts. During this time, all cast and crew members followed strict health precautions according to the University of Michigan COVID-19 safety guidelines to ensure that no one was put in danger by participating. I was lucky enough to work in the lighting booth for this incredible production, and doing so gave me an inside perspective into the immense amount of work that goes into producing a show of this caliber. Every single person involved in this production poured their hearts and souls into creating a high-quality arts event despite the circumstances.
Proving Up will be posted to the SMTD YouTube channel on Wednesday, December 16th at 8:00pm EST and will be available to view free of charge for one month. The opera is short, running for approximately 80 minutes, and is sung entirely in English. As the semester’s finals come to a close, this intimate work is an excellent indulgence for those looking for an artistic change of pace.