Jake Heggie's opera "Dead Man Walking" is based on the 1993 book with the same title by Sister Helen Prejean. It is a work of non-fiction about the death penalty. In the opera, Sister Helen is asked to be the spiritual adviser to Joe, a convicted murderer. Throughout the opera, from the scene where Joe's mother pleads for his life, to scenes involving the family of Joe's victims, to scenes where Sister Helen tries to get Joe to confess his involvement with the murders, every character is in deep anguish. Joe is eventually executed.
"Dead Man Walking" is the most produced new opera of the 21st century. The Minnesota Opera stages the work starting this weekend.
Soprano Karen Slack and mezzo Catherine Martin join Steve Staruch in the studio to talk about their roles and sing two pieces from Heggie's gorgeous score. Stage director Joel Ivany joins the conversation.