Missy Mazzoli

Breaking the Waves

Libretto by Royce Vavrek

A new co-production with Opera Ventures &
Houston Grand Opera, in association with Bristol Old Vic

Edinburgh International Festival


Wed 21 Aug to Sat 24 Aug

Book Tickets

Missy Mazzoli’s dark and daring opera caused a sensation when it premiered in 2016 – it won the 2017 Best New Opera Award from the Music Critics Association of North America and was shortlisted for an International Opera Award.

Based on Lars von Trier’s award-winning film, with libretto by Royce Vavrek, it tells the story of a young woman living in the Scottish Highlands in the 1970s. Caught in a torrent of contradictions about how to behave, she struggles to appease. Then, following a tragic accident, she finds herself in an impossible situation, and has no choice but to carve out her own path…

‘Savage, heartbreaking, and thoroughly original.’ The Wall Street Journal

Bristol Old Vic’s Tom Morris, Tony Award-winning director of War Horse, follows his acclaimed The Death of Klinghoffer at ENO and the Met with the European premiere of Mazzoli’s hugely original work. The international cast includes American soprano Sydney Mancasola, Edinburgh-born baritone Duncan Rock and Irish-Canadian mezzo Wallis Giunta, winner of the 2018 International Opera Award’s Young Singer of the Year. Music Director Stuart Stratford conducts.

Please note: Contains strong language, violence, adult themes and partial nudity

Running time approx.  2 hrs 30 mins
Sung in English with English supertitles

Co-presented with Opera VenturesEdinburgh International Festival

This production has been made possible with support from Howard and Sarah Solomon Foundation, Denise Coates Foundation, Karl Sydow, Scottish Opera’s New Commissions Circle, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and a syndicate of donors. 



Listen to the music for Breaking the Waves in this audio stream from Opera Philadelphia's world premiere production of the opera in 2016, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Cast & Creative Team

Bess McNeill
Sydney Mancasola

Jan Nyman
Duncan Rock

Dodo McNeill
Wallis Giunta

Orla Boylan

Dr Richardson
Elgan Llŷr Thomas

Byron Jackson

Freddie Tong

Stuart Stratford

Tom Morris

Soutra Gilmour

Lighting Designer
Richard Howell

Projection Designer
Will Duke

Sound Designer
Jon Nicholls

Associate Director & Movement
Sara Brodie

Season 2019/20 Performances. Red and blue text on a white background.

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
21 • 23 • 24 Aug 7.15pm