— The New York Times
The Edinburgh International Festival presents Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves in its European premiere August 21-24. This new co-production, directed by Tom Morris, is a collaboration between Opera Ventures, Scottish Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Opéra Comique Paris, in association with Bristol Old Vic.
Based on Lars von Trier’s controversial film, Breaking the Waves is set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, telling 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’ 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’ increasing selflessness leads to a finale of divine grace, but at great cost.
The cast includes 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.
Breaking the Waves is the winner of the 2017 Music Critics Association of North America award for Best New Opera and was nominated for Best World Premiere at the 2017 International Opera Awards.