Royce Vavrek

In Performance: Breaking the Waves (Prototype Festival)

Prototype Festival Breaking the Waves Missy Mazzoli & Royce Vavrek (USA) NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 LaGuardia Place January 6-9 Based on Lars Von Trier’s 1996 film of the same name, the new opera Breaking the Waves offers a grand showcase for the soprano Kiera Duffy. Duffy delivers a powerhouse performance as Bess McNeill, an unstable, lovestruck girl in a religious seaside town. Von Trier’s story is a bleak one. After her beloved husband is paralyzed, Bess agrees to his demands that she have sex with other men and describe the encounters to him. Her increasing degradation, mistreatment and eventual murder at the hands of the townsmen is depicted as a kind of selfless martyrdom, with various characters continually referring to her “goodness” and “golden heart.” It ...