Missy Mazzoli: The Listeners

How much would you sacrifice to find your place in the world?

Saturday, 24 September, at 18:00–21:00
100–800 kr

An opera about our desperate desire to belong to a community, and the dangerous power of charismatic leaders.

Missy Mazzoli: The Listeners (2021, WP)

A middle-class mother living in a suburb of south western America suddenly notices a ‘hum’ in the air – a high-frequency noise that only a select few people – the Listeners – can hear.

A community organisation quickly forms to solve the mystery of the hum, but their meetings become increasingly cult-like, ritualised experiences. It becomes clear that this community of ‘Listeners’ is on a collision course with destruction.

In a major coup for the Norsk Opera & Ballett – in collaboration ith the Chicago and Philadelphia Opera Houses – one of the greatest living American composers premieres an important new work right here in Oslo with Ultima.

The Listeners examines the lengths to which people are willing to go in order to find a sense of place and purpose, and the way charismatic leaders can exploit divided societies. An enduring part of American identity is a sense of deserved success and happiness. When this imagined future collides with the realities and struggles of everyday life, dazzling and predatory leaders offering a ‘quick fix’ can easily prey on the vulnerabilities of the lonely and lost.

The Brooklyn based, Grammy-nominated US composer Missy Mazzoli is one of the most inventive, surprising composers currently working in New York. Her apocalyptic imagination has created music for orchestras, chamber groups, and TV/film soundtracks for Amazon TV among others.

Missy Mazzoli. Photo: Marylene Mey.


Missy Mazzoli

Libretto (based on the story by Jordan Tannahill)

Royce Vavrek

Musical director

Ilan Volkov


Lileana Blain-Cruz

Visual design

Adam Rigg

Costumes and set design

Kaye Voyce

Lighting design

Yi Zhao


Hannah Wasileski


Raja Feather Kelly


Nicole Heaston, Frøy Hovland Holtbakk, Eirik Grøtvedt, Simon Neal, Håvard Stensvold, Tone Kummervold, Martin Hatlo, Johannes Weisser, Cecilie C. Ødegården, Anne-Marie Andersen, Megan Gryga, Ørjan Bruskeland Hinna, Mihai Florin Simboteanu, Valeska Zürn, Kjersti Kongssund.


Barnekoret, Operakoret, Operaorkestret

In collaboration with

Den Norske Opera & Ballett


Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Den Norske Opera & Ballett