"...a searing and riveting presentation that is simply one of best local opera productions since Opera Theatre’s Glorianna back in 2005..."Chris Gibson:
"Baritone Jordan Shanahan doesn’t so much sing and act the role of de Rocher as inhabit it. Ditto for soprano Debra Hillabrand as de Rocher’s long-suffering mother. Their scenes neatly capture their characters’ tragic situation... Tim Ocel’s direction is clear and focused, assisted by Patrick Huber’s set... Artistic director and conductor Scott Schoonover holds Jake Heggie’s complex and evocative score together beautifully... Kaitlyn Breen’s lighting nicely delineates playing areas and Teresa Doggett’s costumes effectively capture the feel of rural 1980s Louisiana..."
"Union Avenue deserves hearty applause for bringing this work to St. Louis for the first time."
"Elise Quagliata and Jordan Shanahan...are absolutely riveting and brave in their performances... Shanahan's confession aria is worth the price of admission alone... Tim Ocel's direction finds the heart at the center of this terrible happening, and Scott Schoonover conducts the orchestra, drawing all he can dramatically from their expert playing...Gerry Kowarsky:
Union Avenue Opera's production of Dead Man Walking is a must-see event, heavy and searing, but well worth the humanity and the pain of forgiveness, for the sheer joy of seeing masterful performers at work."
"The richness of the score is fully evident in the playing of the orchestra conducted by Scott Schoonover… The acting has the kind of detail and moment-to-moment responsiveness that we'd be lucky to see on any stage, not just in opera. For this we have to give credit to the director Tim Ocel… Teresa Doggett provided fine period costumes. The spare set design by Patrick Huber was evocative and flexible, as was Kaitlyn Breen's lighting."Sarah Bryan Miller:
"...the most involving production of an opera I've ever attended...a landmark of St. Louis theatre."
"Elise Quagliata gave the role Prejean's authentic strength and humor, fears and faith, and sang throughout with a dark, expressive voice that was strong in the upper register... [B]aritone Jordan Shanahan gave the convicted murderer Joseph de Rocher a completely human complexity that mixed the killer's darkness with a spiritual spark. His fine baritone voice sounded beautiful or rough in turn when his music called for it, and it was intelligently used throughout, in the service of the drama... [S]oprano Marlissa Hudson's portrayal [of Sister Rose] was warm, loving and slightly sassy, with a soaring high voice that didn't quit... As Joseph's mother, mezzo-soprano Debra Hillabrand gave a moving, well-sung performance that conveyed her character's grief and fears... As Owen Hart, father of the murdered girl, David Dillard was dramatically strong..."Dead Man Walking continues its run this weekend: August 26 & 27. All performances begin at 8pm and take place at Union Avenue Christian Church located at 733 N. Union Blvd in St. Louis. Sung in English with projected English supertitles. Tickets range $30-52. Student Rush Tickets are $15 with valid Student ID (cash only) for any remaining seats available 15 minutes before curtain. To purchase Tickets or find more information about Union Avenue Opera, please call 314.361.2881 or visit http://www.unionavenueopera.org/
"Artistic director Scott Schoonover, director Tim Ocel and everyone else involved really knocked themselves out for this one. It's probably the finest production that UAO has ever done."