Creative Team

Composer

MISSY MAZZOLI

Librettist

ROYCE VAVREK

based on the film by

LARS VON TRIER

Director

JAMES DARRAH

Conductor

JULIAN WACHNER

Scenic design

ADAM RIGG

Lighting design

PABLO SANTIAGO

Projection design

ADAM LARSEN

Costume design

CHRISI KARVONIDES

Dramaturg

MIKE COHEN & CORI ELLISON

MISSY MAZZOLI

ROYCE VAVREK

JAMES DARRAH

JULIAN WACHNER

About

Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, Breaking the Waves, tells the story of Bess McNeill, a religious young woman with a deep love for her husband Jan, a handsome oil rig worker. When Jan becomes paralyzed in an off-shore accident, Bess’s marital vows are put to the test as he encourages her to seek other lovers and return to his bedside to tell him of her sexual activities. He insists that the stories will feel like they are making love together and keep him alive. Bess’s increasing selflessness leads to a finale of divine grace, but at great cost.

Support

Breaking the Waves is co-commissioned with Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects.

World Premiere production Opera Philadelphia.
New York City Premiere at PROTOTYPE 2017.

Major support for Breaking the Waves has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the William Penn Foundation. Additional support is provided by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Additional commissioning support from Allen Freedman & Judith Brick Freedman and Linda & Stuart Nelson.

Press

“It is not easy to find new operas that command attention, tell their story lucidly and create a powerful, permeating mood. Dark and daring, Breaking the Waves does all this with sensitivity and style.”

The New York Times

“Savage, heartbreaking, and thoroughly original…Bess, as conceived by Ms. Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, and sung by the extraordinary Kiera Duffy, is an evolving, unforgettable character.”

The Wall Street Journal

“Mazzoli’s music excels both at creating atmosphere and underscoring emotions.”

Opera News

“Breaking the Waves stands among the best twenty-first-century American operas yet produced.”

Musical America

01 / 04

Video Trailer

BREAKING THE WAVES

Photo Gallery