What the Critics Thought: Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves at Adelaide Festival

Fresh from its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival last summer, we were delighted to take Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves to the Adelaide Festival earlier this month.

We were thrilled as audiences took to their feet to applaud the two performances at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre.

With the full original cast and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, conducted by Scottish Opera Music Director, making the trip to Australia, both audiences and critics have praised the adaptation. The Australian called it an ‘utterly absorbing…contemporary masterpiece’ and Bachtrack hailed it an ‘amazing, confronting, yet mystical opera’.

Further recognition came for the cast, with performances from American soprano Sydney Mancasola as Bess and Edinburgh-born baritone Duncan Rock as Bess’s husband- along with Wallis Giunta, Orla Boylan, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Byron Jackson and Freddie Tong. Critics have praised performances of all involved, with Limelight saying, ‘there isn’t a weak link in the cast, male chorus or orchestra’. The Australian Review hailed Sydney Mancasola’s performances as Bess a ‘heart wrenching musico-theatrical tour de force’.

With a libretto by Royce Vavrek, this new production directed by Tom Morris is based on Lars von Trier’s devastating film, set in Scotland in the 1970’s. A co-production by Opera Ventures, Scottish Opera and Houston Grand Opera, in association with Bristol Old Vic, it is a modern opera to behold. Contemporary composer, Missy Mazzoli’s inventive score tells the dark tale of Bess who finds herself in an impossible situation, following a tragic accident.

We would like to thank our amazing Adelaide audience who made it along to the performances and we hope to return in the future.