Breaking the Waves comes to Melbourne

Breaking the Waves comes to Melbourne
Breaking the Waves
© Opera Australia

Opera Australia presents Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli with libretto by Royce Vavrek in a not to be missed opera event in July. Singers Jennifer Black (Bess), Sian Sharp (Dodo) and Duncan Rock (Jan) perform in this stellar production supported by Orchestra Victoria and conducted by Jessica Cottis.

Based on the film by Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves is an opera which is set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s. It 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 paralysed 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.

Missy Mazzoli is one of the most exciting composers working anywhere in the world. The music to Breaking the Waves is emotionally moving and breathtakingly beautiful.

“I have never had a story sing to me like Bess McNeill's in Breaking the Waves. Immediately upon seeing this film I felt that Bess's crushing vulnerability, steadfast faith and shocking bravery could manifest in a refreshing and provocative new character on the operatic stage. I imagine music that illuminates the complexity von Trier brings to his characters — a chorus of men sing a hymn that is beautiful but chilling in its austerity, Jan sings to Bess of his desires in a way that is at once tender and calculating, Bess sings a delicate melody with a turbulent and distorted accompaniment that hints at her inner rages and longings. In creating music for Bess McNeill and her world I see an opportunity to create a new kind of heroine, and a new kind of opera that presents complex characters in an intricate and unblinking light.”

 Missy Mazzoli



Buy Tickets Here

July 26 2024

Hamer Hall, Arts Centre

100 St. Kilda Road

Melbourne, Australia

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