Missy Mazzoli “Breaking the Waves” Opera Philadelphia

Missy Mazzoli “Breaking the Waves” Opera Philadelphia World Premier. September 22, 24m, 27, 29, Oct 1  Perelman Theater.  Phone: +1 (215) 732-8400

Libretto: Royce Vavrek, after the film by Lars von Trier
Conductor Steven Osgood
Director James Darrah
Sets Adam Rigg  Costumes Chrisi Karvonides 
video Adam Larsen  Lighting Pablo Santiago
Bess McNeill Kiera Duffy
Jan Nyman John Moore
Dodo McNeill Eve Gigliotti
Dr Richardson David Portillo
Bess’s Mother Patricia Schuman
Terry Zachary James
Church Councilman/ Elder Marcus DeLoach

Missy Mazzoli “Breaking the Waves”:

Missy Mazzoli – Breaking the Waves Synopsis

Childlike Bess finds love with the off-shore oil rigger, Jan, and they are married in the strict Calvinist church. While they receive the church elders’ blessings, Jan, a Norwegian, is viewed as an outsider. Bess takes her marriage vows seriously, and undergoes a sexual enlightenment with her new husband. It is only a matter of time before Jan must return to the rigs to work, forcing Bess into a deep depression. In conversations with God, Bess seeks answers and solace, and hopes that spiritual intervention will bring Jan home. Shortly thereafter, a near-fatal accident on the rig forces Jan to be rushed to emergency medical attention.
Bess learns that the accident has left Jan almost completely paralyzed. She believes it to be her fault, having asked God to bring him home. Jan knows that Bess would never step outside her matrimonial covenant, but feels that he needs to set her free so that she can live a full life. He encourages her to find men to sleep with and report back to him the events that transpire so that it will feel like they are making love. When Jan tries to kill himself by pill overdose, Bess becomes certain that she must obey her husband and find lovers. Failed attempts to woo a handsome doctor, and half-hearted sexual encounters with strangers coincide with a decline in Jan’s health. When Bess finds a man and has sex with him outside an old shed, Jan’s health stabilizes.
Bess’s reputation catches up to her, and she is excommunicated from the Church. She fails to understand why, as she is simply following her husband’s will, and his recovery seems directly proportional to her extramarital activities. Bess finds herself aboard a large commercial ship where she is savagely raped and cut up by sadistic sailors with knives. A second trip leaves her near death’s door, and it is only due to the kindness of a stranger that her nearly lifeless body is delivered to the hospital. She dies as Jan wakes from his surgery, his health dramatically improved. The elders agree to provide Bess a Calvinist funeral, but insist she be buried a sinner and consign her soul to hell. Jan, who has fully recovered, steals the body before she is interred, committing her remains to the ocean. God’s bells ring out Bess’s melody.

Web site:
Address: Opera Philadelphia
Broad and Locust Streets
Philadelphia PA 19102
United States
Administration: Academy House, 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia
Phone: +1 (215) 893-3600
Fax: +1 (215) 893-7801
Season: Oct-Jun
Language: Original
Surtitles: English
Capacity: 2800 seats Academy of Music
550 seats Kimmel Center Perelman Theater
Booking: in person, postal, phone, Fax, E-mail
Address: Academy House, 1420 Locust Street, Suite 210
Phone: +1 (215) 732-8400
Fax: +1 (215) 732-8666
Opening hours: 09.30-16.30
Opera Philadelphia Booking: phone
Phone: +1 (215) 893-1999 (Academy Charge)
Disabled access: Wheelchair space Special seats Toilets
Hearing impaired: Hearing aids ((215)
Other: 893 1935 Manager’s Office)


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