Breaking the Waves
  • Edinburgh International Festival

Breaking the Waves is a wrenching moral drama about a womans twisted bargain with God. Based on Lars von Triers controversial film, US composer Missy Mazzolis opera won the 2017 Best New Opera Award at the Music Critics Association of North America and was shortlisted the same year for an International Opera Award.

In a strict Calvinist community on the Scottish coast, Bess McNeill marries the man she loves: Norwegian rig worker Jan Nyman. Besss prayers for his return from working off-shore are cruelly answered when he is incapacitated in a horrific accident. Frail and vulnerable, Jan encourages his wife to seek other lovers and recount these liaisons to him. He insists these stories feel like they are making love together and keep him alive. Encouraged, Bess seeks a series of increasingly radical sexual encounters, putting herself in extreme danger.

Missy Mazzolis multi-layered, melodic music conjures a dark, luscious soundscape, with shades of Britten and Janek. Bristol Old Vics Artistic Director Tom Morris, winner of a Tony Award for War Horse and director of ENOs acclaimed The Death of Klinghoffer, directs a stunning cast including American soprano Sydney Mancasola, Edinburgh-born baritone Duncan Rock and Irish-Canadian mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta, winner of the 2018 International Opera Awards Young Singer of the Year Award. Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts.

An opera in three acts byMissy Mazzoli

Libretto by Royce Vavrek

Based on the film by Lars von Trier

Sydney Mancasola Bess McNeill

Duncan Rock Jan Nyman

Wallis Giunta Dodo McNeill

Orla Boylan Mother

Elgan Llr Thomas Dr Richardson

Byron Jackson Terry

Freddie Tong Councilman

Frank Church Sadistic Sailor

David Lynn Young Sailor

Soloists of The Orchestra of Scottish Opera

Chorus of Breaking the Waves

Stuart Stratford Conductor

Tom Morris Director

Soutra Gilmour Designer

Richard Howell Lighting Designer

Will Duke Projection Designer

Jon Nicholls Sound Designer

Sara Brodie Associate Director & Movement

A new co-production by Opera Ventures, Scottish Opera and Houston Grand Opera, in association with Bristol Old Vic. Co-presented with Edinburgh International Festival. This production has been made possible with support from Howard and Sarah Solomon Foundation, Denise Coates Foundation, Karl Sydow and a syndicate of donors.

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