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FULL DEAD MAN WALKING (Heggie) Met 2023 Joyce DiDonato, Latonia Moore, Ryan McKinny, Susan Graham

Video Recording from: vk     FULL VIDEO     Qries

Information on the Performance
Information about the Recording
  • Published by: Met Live in Cinema  
  • Date Published: 2023  
  • Format: Streaming
  • Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
  • Subtitles: nosubs  
  • Video Recording from: vk     FULL VIDEO

World premiere: San Francisco Opera, 2000  
The most widely performed new opera of the last two decades, Dead Man Walking is adapted from the groundbreaking memoir by Sister Helen Prejean. It concerns her ministry to condemned murderers on death row, and in bringing this powerful story to the operatic stage, composer Jake Heggie created a score that recalls Sister Helen’s prose and her advocacy style: direct, unaffected, and unflinchingly honest—but not without a deep understanding of the heart and humanity inside each one of us.

Jake Heggie (b. 1961) is an American composer known for his orchestral and choral work, his collaborations with a wide variety of artists, and especially for his operas. Librettist Terrence McNally (1938–2020) was a leading American playwright, screenwriter, and winner of numerous Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Sister Helen Prejean (b. 1939) became a nun in the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph at age 18 and began her ministry to convicts awaiting execution in 1982. She chronicled those early experiences in the book Dead Man Walking.

While based on real-life events from the late 1970s and early 1980s, Heggie’s opera is more generally set in contemporary times, as questions about the value and morality of the death penalty remain relevant. Nonetheless, the locations evoke actual places from Prejean’s life: a mission in a very poor neighborhood of New Orleans, the long road out to Louisiana State Penitentiary, and predominantly the prison itself.

In depicting this quintessentially American story, Heggie composed a score immersed in an American musical vernacular built around the characters and their inner conflicts, rather than an overt debate about capital punishment. Both lead roles require classic operatic vocalism, and the important role of Mrs. De Rocher, Joseph’s mother, must convey deep pathos in her tone as well as being able to express both the text and subtext in her music. Ambient music also plays a large role, including songs on a car radio, rock ’n’ roll in the style of Elvis Presley, and a traditional-sounding hymn whose impact changes when heard in different treatments.

Quoted from the Metropolitan Opera


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