At the heart of Dead Man Walking lies a close friendship between a nun and a prisoner sentenced to death. The true story has already been made into an Oscar-winning film by the same name (Tim Robbins, 1995), based on the experiences of Sister Helen Prejean.
Louisiana, 1980s: Two teenagers are brutally assaulted. The boy is shot and the girl is raped and stabbed to death. A few years later, Sister Helen is contacted by Joseph De Rocher, a prisoner in one of America's most heavily guarded prisons. He has received the death sentence for the murders of the two teenagers, but claims he is innocent and asks the nun to speak his case. Sister Helen and the prisoner develop a strong friendship, but she faces strong opposition – from her colleagues, the prison chaplain and the parents of the killed teenagers. How can she deal with a cruel killer?
Based on Prejean’s memoir, Dead Man Walking’s melodic, cinematic music underpins an intense human drama, with elements of American singing traditions such as gospel, jazz and spirituals. Jake Heggie is one of North America's most frequently-performed composers. Dead Man Walking was his operatic debut, and attracted much attention when premiered in San Francisco in 2000. Now the most performed opera from the 21st century is coming to Norway.
Age recommendation: The opera opens with a powerful scene of sexualized violence. It is therefore not recommended for children under 16.
Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes including interval.
Cast: Katarina Karnéus, Leigh Melrose, Maija Skille, Birgitte Christensen, Eirik Grøtvedt, Lucia Cervoni, Yngve Søberg, Ann-Helen Moen, Magnus Staveland, Jens-Erik Aasbø, Magnus Ingemund Kjelstad, Jacob Abel R. Tjeldberg, Zuzanna Foremska, Renate Ekerhovd, Diana Ardelean, Clara Jacobsen, Krzysztof Aureliuz Luczynski, Rolf Conrad, Petteri Lehikoinen, Natanael Uifalean, Megan Gryga, Knut Schøning / Barnekoret, Operakoret, Operaorkestret.