Edinburgh International Festival: Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves, the European premiere of a new opera from Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, is a wrenching moral drama about a woman’s twisted bargain with God.

Edinburgh International Festival: Breaking the Waves

About Edinburgh International Festival: Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves is a wrenching moral drama about a woman’s twisted bargain with God. Based on Lars von Trier’s controversial film, US composer Missy Mazzoli’s 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. Bess’s 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 Mazzoli’s multi-layered, melodic music conjures a dark, luscious soundscape, with shades of Britten and Janáček. Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morris, winner of a Tony Award for War Horse and director of ENO’s 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.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Festival: Breaking the Waves are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment.

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