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"Confronting and heartfelt, Dead Man Walking is a theatrical triumph for State Opera."

An opera in two acts
Jake Hegge, Composer
Terrence McNally, Librettist

In 2003, State Opera South Australia gave Dead Man Walking its Australian Premiere.

Based on her real-life experiences with prisoners on America’s Death row, Dead Man Walking was first a book by Sister Helen Prejean C.S.J. and an award-winning Hollywood film before becoming an opera by Jake Heggie, with a libretto by playwright Terrence McNally.

Now considered to be one of “the pre-eminent contemporary opera composers”, Dead Man Walking was in fact Hegge’s first opera, which was commissioned and premiered at San Francisco Opera in 2000.

In 2003, State Opera South Australia gave its Australian premiere and first performance outside the United States. Kirsti Harms played Sister Helen and Teddy Tahu Rhodes portrayed death row prisoner, Joseph De Rocher. The real Sister Helen Prejean was in the audience.

“The reason for the work’s appeal lies in its almost perfect fusion of ideas and emotions,” – The Australian

Learn more about State Opera’s season of Dead Man Walking.

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Desiree Frahn, soprano performs Be careful (people have always told me) with accompaniment by Anthony Hunt on piano as part of State Opera South Australia’s Arias from the Archives project. Watch below.

Learn more about Arias from The Archives

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