Opera Philadelphia

Breaking the Waves

Music by Missy Mazzoli
Libretto by Royce Vavrek
Based on the film by Lars von Trier (Zentropa Entertainments3)
Performed in English with English subtitles

Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's popular 2016 World Premiere production of Breaking the Waves, winner of the inaugural Best New Opera award from the Music Critics Association of North America, comes to the Opera Philadelphia Channel in an uncensored and remastered release from director James Darrah, with enhanced audio and video, presented in partnership with LA Opera.

Breaking the Waves is based on the 1996 Academy Award-nominated film by Lars von Trier. 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.

Breaking the Waves is included as part of the Season Pass.

This broadcast contains violence, strong language, sexual situations, and partial nudity. Recommended for mature audiences.

MapOpera Philadelphia Channel

Fri, Mar 12 8:00 p.m.

The running time is approximately two hours and 10 minutes.

Presented in Partnership with LA Opera

Major support for Breaking the Waves has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the William Penn Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation at the recommendation of Daniel K. Meyer, M.D.

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.

Additional commissioning support by: Allen Freedman and Judith Brick Freedman; Chris Ahearn and Marla Mayer.

Co-commission with Beth Morrison Projects

Chat with Guest Services