"I always say that Jake takes your heart out of your chest and sort of massages it and squeezes it and loves it and wrings it out and puts it back." That's an excellent description of how one feels at the conclusion of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking now at Washington National Opera through March 11th. In 2000, renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham created the role of Sister Helen Préjean, the real-life nun whose memoir of her experiences with death-row convicts inspired a movie as well as this opera. In the 17 years since its premiere, Dead Man Walking has been staged over 40 times. This time around, Susan Graham plays the convicted killer Joseph De Rocher's mother.
Washington National Opera presents Dead Man Walking through March 11 at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Kate Lindsey plays Sister Helen Préjean; Michael Mayes is Joseph De Rocher; Susan Graham is Mrs. De Rocher. Francesca Zambello directs and Michael Christie conducts the Washington National Opera Orchestra. More information at WashingtonNationalOpera.org.