Missy Mazzoli is sitting in one of Ingmar Bergman’s bedrooms when she joins our Zoom meeting earlier this summer. At the time, the 40-year-old composer was finishing a monthlong artist’s residency at the Bergman Estate at Fårö—an island in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden where the director lived and filmed parts of Through a Glass Darkly and Scenes from a Marriage.
Bergman wasn’t the first to seek solace on Fårö. The island was a haven for people looking to avoid the plague in the 1400s. Those marks of history are still apparent on the island, making Mazzoli’s residency there a bit cosmic: She spent the time working on a violin concerto for Jennifer Koh, inspired by Medieval chants and prayers used to ward off the plague. From an island linked to both plague and Persona, Mazzoli and I spoke about her upcoming operatic adaptation of George Saunders’s novel Lincoln in the Bardo, the legacy of her teacher Louis Andriessen, and her current studies to become a death doula.
But first, she caught me up on the pieces she’s been working on given the extra time afforded by the pandemic.Online Version