The Chicago Premiere Of Dead Man Walking
American composer Jake Heggie and literary icon Terrence McNally's visceral, heart-wrenching production Dead Man Walking is quite simply necessary viewing in 21st-century opera. Premiering at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House in 2000, the deeply moving work was praised for McNally's eloquent libretto and Heggie's stirring melodies and hymnal-inflected score, as well as its tender exploration of forgiveness and friendship on death row. Now the eye-opening sotory comes to Chicago for the first time under the direction of renowned American theater maker Leonard Foglia during the Lyric Opera's 2019/20 season.
Based on the real life murder of a young couple by Emlo Patrick Sonnier and the subsequent feature film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, Dead Man Walking follows Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic sister who becomes the spiritual advisor to murderer and death row inmate Joseph De Rocher. Though his deeds are truly terrible, the empathetic Prejean questions the very nature of human connection and the way we treat each other when she meets both his family and the families of those he killed.