New York Premiere

Breaking the Waves

January 6, 7 & 9, 2017 at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Based on the film by Lars Von Trier, Breaking the Waves tells the story of Bess, a religious young woman deeply in love with her husband Jan. Bess’s marital vows are tested when Jan is paralyzed in an off-shore oil rig accident. As this psychological drama about sacrificial love unfolds, Bess’s unrelenting selflessness escalates towards a devastating finale.


An Opera Philadelphia production, Breaking the Waves was co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects.


Major support for Breaking the Waves has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the William Penn Foundation. Additional support is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.


Additional commissioning support by Allen Freedman and Judith Brick Freedman and Linda and Stuart Nelson.


Scenery built and painted by Opera Philadelphia
Costumes constructed by Opera Philadelphia
Production owned by Opera Philadelphia
Rehearsed at New 42nd Street Studios


Co-presented with NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts – New York University and Trinity Church Wall Street.


Breaking the Waves is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Photos by Nicholas Korkos and Dominic M. Mercier for Opera Philadelphia

Bess McNeill: Kiera Duffy
Jan Nyman: John Moore
Bess’s Mother: Theodora Hanslowe
Dodo McNeill: Eve Gigliotti
Terry: Matthew Curran
Dr. Richardson: Dominic Armstrong
The Minister: Marcus DeLoach
The Sadistic Sailor: John David Miles
The Runt: George Ross Somerville
The Stone Thrower: Daniel Taylor

Featuring NOVUS NY and the Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street

Chorus: Jim Gwathney, Stephen Humes, Thomas McCarger, Scott Mello, John Miles, Garrett Obrycki, George Somerville, Tim Stopper, Dan Taylor, Jackson Williams, Steven Williamson, and Jonathan Woody

NOVUS NY Orchestra: Katie Hyun, Edson Scheid, Nathan Schram, Doug Balliett, Melissa Baker, Stuart Breczinski, Benjamin Fingland, Bard Balliett, David Byrd-Marrow, Mike Lormand, Ian Rosenbaum, Bridget Kibbey, Charity Wicks, and Taylor Levine