The European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s dark and daring opera Breaking the Waves will take place at this summer’s Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Opera has announced.

Based on Lars von Trier’s 1996 Cannes Grand Prix-winning film of the same name, the opera caused a sensation when it received its world premiere in Philadelphia on 22 September 2016. It was nominated for the 2017 International Opera Award for Best World Premiere and won the inaugural Music Critics Association of North America Award for Best New Opera.

The opera tells the story of Bess McNeill, a young woman living in a deeply religious community in the Scottish Highlands in the 1970s. This role will be played by American soprano Sydney Mancasola, a grand finals winner of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Scottish Opera Music Director Stuart Stratford will conduct the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, while the new production will be directed by Tom Morris, the Tony-Award-winning artistic director of Bristol Old Vic.

Also in the cast are Edinburgh-born baritone Duncan Rock as Bess’s husband Jan Nyman; Wallis Giunta, winner of the 2018 International Opera Awards’ Young Singer of the Year; Orla Boylan; former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Elgan Llŷr Thomas; Byron Jackson; and Freddie Tong. The libretto is by Royce Vavrek and the set and costume designer is Soutra Gilmour.

The production opens on 21 August at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, for three performances, before commencing a world tour.

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera general director, commented: “Breaking the Waves is our second co-production with Opera Ventures for the Edinburgh International Festival, following the critical success of Greek [Mark-Anthony Turnage] in 2017. Missy Mazzoli is one of America’s finest contemporary composers, and we are so excited to be part of the journey for her incredible work’s European premiere, with the very talented Tom Morris directing and our own brilliant Music Director Stuart Stratford conducting.”



Missy Mazoli’s Breaking the Waves will receive its European premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival (James Glossop).