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Jake Heggie

Dead Man Walking

β€œHe Will Gather Us Around. Side By Side, You And I.”

Festival Theatre

07 Aug - 16 Aug 2003

Dead Man Walking, based on a non fictional novel to the same name written by Sister Helen Prejean.
Set in Louisiana in the early 1980’s, Joseph De Rocher sits in his prison cell contemplating his impending execution and remembers the crime he committed. Sister Helen Prejean becomes Joseph’s pen pal throughout his sentence and sits by his side until his final moments.


"Where Dead Man Walking impresses most of all is in its music. Heggie has created an all-American score of beautiful lyrical eloquence, emotional tug and dramatic sweep, drawing skilfully on a plate of sources from Bernstein and Gershwin to later film composers and even Elvis Presley. His effortless, fluid vein of expression and outstanding dramatic pacing immediately establish Dead Man Walking as a landmark in modern opera"

The Australian Graham Strahle

"The operas great achievement is to make you finally feel pity for the apparently irredeemable criminal. Through the daring of its programming, the State Opera of South Australia has another hit on its hands"

The Age John Slavin

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

The Advertiser Ewart Shaw

John DeMain
Brad Dalton
Set Design
Michael Yeargan
Costume Design
Sam Fleming
Sound Designer
Roger Gans
Lighting Designer
Jennifer Tipton

Sister Helen Prejean
Kirsti Harms
Joseph de Rocher
Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Mrs Patrick de Rohcer
Elizabeth Campbell
Sister Rose
Rosalind Martin
George Benton
David Hibbard
First Prison Guard
Stephen Bennett
Second Prison Guard
Robert England
Father Grenville
Andrew Brunsdon
Howard Boucher
Brian Gilbertson
Jade Boucher
Wendy Hopkins
Owen Hart
Douglas McNicol
Kitty Hart
Merlyn Quaife

State Opera Chorus
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra