In the News: Opera Philadelphia's Breaking the Waves Praised in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and More

28 Sep 2016


Kiera Duffy as Bess in Breaking the Waves. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier, courtesy of Opera Philadelphia.

Breaking the Waves, the world premiere chamber opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek presented by Opera Philadelphia, has received extensive international, national, and regional media coverage since its debut on September 21, including features and reviews in The New York Times, NPR, and The Guardian. The Opera Philadelphia production continues through October 1.

"It is not easy to find new operas that command attention, tell their story lucidly and create a powerful, permeating mood. Dark and daring, Breaking the Waves does all this with sensitivity and style," wrote Zachary Wolfe for The New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal lauded Mazzoli's score that "deftly balances trenchant arias with a kaleidoscopic orchestration whose layers and colors suggest Messiaen, Britten, and Janáček but is finally all her own."

The Guardian highlighted the emotive qualities that drew Mazzoli to Lars von Trier's 1996 film: "One of the things I love about this film is that each of the characters is infinitely deep and incredibly complicated...That's a very attractive quality for opera," Mazzoli said.

In his review for Opera News, David Shengold declared that Breaking the Waves "stands among the best 21st-century American operas yet produced," and that Mazzoli's "music lived up to the hype her work has engendered."

The Philadelphia Inquirer described the opera as "exhilarating," while Philadelphia Magazine wrote that with this "powerful new work, Opera Philadelphia is on a significant upward trajectory."

Hear more about Breaking the Waves on NPR and Articulate.

Learn more about how Mazzoli and Vavrek approached translating Lars von Trier's film to the stage.>>