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Digital Festival O: Breaking the Waves Digital Festival O: Breaking the Waves Digital Festival O: Breaking the Waves

Opera Philadelphia

Breaking the Waves

May 29-August 31, 2020


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Breaking the Waves is part of Opera Philadelphia's Digital Festival O and will be available for streaming on-demand until August 31.

This World Premiere chamber opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek 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.

Winner of the 2017 award for Best New Opera from the Music Critics Association of North America

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

Streaming On-Demand

Digital Festival O is generously funded, in part, by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation.