Dead Man Walking, the powerful opera by composer Jake Heggie and librettist-playwright Terrence McNally, will have its long-awaited Lyric premiere this month. There will be six performances Nov. 2-22 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $39 and are available at lyricopera.org/dmw or by calling 312-827-5600.
Based on the New York Times bestseller by Sister Helen Prejean, which also inspired the Academy-Award winning film of the same name, in Dead Man Walking a young couple is brutally killed and the convicted murderer, Joseph De Rocher (bass-baritone Ryan McKinny/Lyric debut), awaits his fate on death row. A nun, Sister Helen Prejean (soprano Patricia Racette), becomes his pen pal and eventually his spiritual adviser. As their friendship develops, Sister Helen meets with De Rocher’s desperate mother (mezzo-soprano Susan Graham) and also with the parents of the murdered teenagers — all grappling with issues of life and death, faith and the true meaning of forgiveness.
Nicole Paiement, the founder, artistic director, and conductor of San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, makes her Lyric debut conducting these performances. Leonard Foglia directs the production he created for a consortium of regional companies and has staged numerous times nationally and internationally, with sets designed by Michael McGarty and costumes designed by Jess Goldstein (both Lyric debuts), lighting designed by Brian Nason, projections by Elaine J. McCarthy, and sound design by Roger Gans. Michael Black is chorus master, and Josephine Lee is children’s chorus master, overseeing members of the Chicago Children’s Choir.
Content Advisory: Please be advised that Dead Man Walking opens with a scene of sexual violence. The opera contains explicit language and mature themes.
You can view Lyric's Dead Man Walking program book here.
Information about the score and alterations may be found here.
Musical excerpts from Dead Man Walking may be found here.
Performance dates for Dead Man Walking are November 2, 6, 10, 13, 16, and 22. Performance times vary.
For tickets and information call (312) 827-5600 or go to lyricopera.org/dmw.
Estimated running time is 2 hours 55 minutes, including one 30-minute intermission.
Dead Man Walking is performed in English with projected English texts.
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