Events surrounding the Missouri premiere include media appearances, book signings and a speaking engagement by Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, who will also attend the opening night performance. Union Avenue Opera and Union Avenue Christian Church are excited and grateful to welcome Sr. Helen to St. Louis to share in this premiere.
Making her Union Avenue Opera debut, Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata sings the role of Sr. Helen Prejean. Returning after his UAO debut as Prince Yeletsky in last season's Pikovaya Dama, Baritone Jordan Shanahan sings the role of convicted murderer Joseph De Rocher. Mezzo-soprano Debra Hillabrand, also last seen in Pikovaya Dama as Paulina, portrays Mrs. Patrick De Rocher. Last heard as Bess in 2007's Porgy and Bess, Soprano Marlissa Hudson returns to sing the role of Sr. Rose. Fresh from his engagement as Pang in Turandot, Tenor Clark Sturdevant portrays Fr. Grenville, a prison chaplain. Baritone Robert Reed, King Melchior in the recent Amahl, sings the role of Warden George Benton.
Baritone David Dillard, seen as Sulpice in last season's La fille du régiment, is Owen Hart, father of the murdered girl. Soprano Stephanie Tennill, last seen in 2001 as Berta in The Barber of Seville, sings Kitty Hart. Tenor Jon Garrett, most recently seen as The Emperor in Turandot, is Howard Boucher, father of the murdered boy. Mezzo-soprano Cecelia Stearman, the Countess in last season's Pikovaya Dama, sings Jade Boucher. Soprano Joy Boland and Mezzo-soprano Victoria Carmichael portray Sisters Catherine and Lilliane, respectively. Baritones Thomas Sitzler and Nathan Ruggles sing the roles of Prison Guards. Tenor Philip Touchette sings the role of a Motorcycle Cop. The Union Avenue Opera chorus and children's chorus rounds out the cast.
UAO Artistic Director Scott Schoonover conducts. Stage Director Tim Ocel returns to UAO after staging last season's critically-acclaimed Pikovaya Dama. Allyson Ditchey serves as Stage Manager. The Design team includes Set Designer Patrick Huber, Costume Designer Teresa Doggett and Lighting Designer Kaitlyn Breen. Pianist Nancy Mayo serves as production répetiteur.
|Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ|
Media coverage and further reading: FOX 2 News In The Morning interviews Sr. Helen at 7:40am Friday morning; Cityscape on 90.7 KWMU this Friday (11:00am) welcomes guests Sr. Helen and Tim Ocel; Patricia Rice of The Beacon previews the production and interviews Sr. Helen; Sarah Bryan Miller profiles composer Jake Heggie in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch; Gary Scott of STLMag.com examines the larger issues posed by the opera, its score and libretto.
You can also visit Operatic St. Louis for some upcoming Q & A sessions and reflections from the cast members.
Dead Man Walking opens Friday, August 19 and will run for three more performances on August 20, 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/