Notes & Reviews:
"Cathartic, uplifting and humanizing" wrote the Houston Chronicle, reporting on this Houston Grand Opera production of Jake Heggies's Dead Man Walking. Joyce didonato as Sister Helen Prejean, who becomes a counselor to murderer on death row in Lousiana, shares the stage with her idol, veteran mezzo Frederica von Stade, here making her farewell to opera. Like Tim Robbins' Oscar-winning 1995 movie of the same name on Sister Helen's real-life memoirs: a leading advocate for abolition of the death penalty in the USA, she acted as a counselor to a prisoner on death row in Lousiana. : However great an operatic and theatrical experience, continued the Houston Chronicle, "dead Man Walking makes its greatest impact as a purely human ne."
"DiDonato sang luminously, affectingly conveying the altruistic nun’s conflicting emotions... Von Stade was dramatically and musically heartbreaking in a role written for her, Measha Brueggergosman’s glowing soprano and spunky acting enriched her portrayal of Sister Rose... Summers... was in total sync with Heggie’s churning, throbbing, colourful score." -Opera Magazine
If the opera seemed good before, it's rather better now...DiDonato [comes to the vocal lines almost as heightened speech...[and] leaves no question that she'll get a confession out of the killer. DiDonato also makes the nun and murderer soul mates...As the killer, Philip Cutler is prickly and vocally imposing in his early scenes. But later on he becomes rhetorically understated in ways that make his ultimate confession even more devastating.
Recording information: Houston Grand Opera (2011-01-24&2011-02-02&2011-).
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Works DetailsHeggie, Jake : Dead Man Walking, opera
- Conductor: Patrick Summers
- Ensemble: Houston Grand Opera Chorus
- Notes: Megatrax, North Hollywood, CA (2011-01-24&2011-02-02&2011-); Houston Grand Opera (2011-01-24&2011-02-02&2011-); BCM (2011-01-24&2011-02-02&2011-)
- Running Time: 2 min. 51 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 2000