BREAKING THE WAVES
Photo by Dominic M. Mercier
Music MISSY MAZZOLI | Libretto ROYCE VAVREK
based on the film by LARS VON TRIER
Direction JAMES DARRAH | Conductor JULIAN WACHNER
Scenic design ADAM RIGG | Lighting design PABLO SANTIAGO
Projection design ADAM LARSEN | Costume design CHRISI KARVONIDES
Dramaturgy MIKE COHEN and CORI ELLISON
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.
This production includes explicit language and sexual content.
BREAKING THE WAVES is co-commisisioned with Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects. World Premiere production by Opera Philadelphia.
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. and 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.
"Breaking the Waves lends musical heft to a von Trier tale “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.”
“Breaking the Waves stands among the best twenty-first-century American operas yet produced.” MUSICAL AMERICA
“One of the most inventive and surprising composers now working in New York.”
--THE NEW YORK TIMES on Missy Mazzoli
"Brooklyn's post-millenial Mozart."
--TIME OUT NEW YORK on Missy Mazzoli