The capital-punishment issue has rarely been handled more poignantly than in Sister Helen Prejean's book, Dead Man Walking, and its 1995 film version, directed by Tim Robbins and amply brought to life by the tour-de-force performances of Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Both, too, were spun from the very stuff of opera drama, conflict, emotion, the meaning of life and death so it was only a matter of time before award-winning playwright Terrence McNally took up the clarion call of its inherent central theme to collaborate with composer Jake Heggie on the subsequent opus of the same name. It debuted to enthusiastic kudos seven years ago in San Francisco, with a brilliant libretto and folk-tinged score.
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Now the opera makes yet another debut its Colorado regional and collegiate premiere beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, October 26, and continuing through Sunday, October 28, at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Macky Auditorium. But before the first aria of the CU Opera production rings out, a series of free on-campus activities will set the mood, beginning today at noon with a brown-bag preview with cast and crew in the Music Theatre in the Imig Music Building. A screening of the film follows this evening at 7 p.m. in Muenzinger Auditorium; tomorrow, Sociology chair Michael Radelet will lead a lecture and panel discussion on capital punishment at 7:30 p.m. in room G1B30 of the Duane Physics Building. Finally, author Prejean and Heggie will appear in person at 2 p.m. on October 26 in Grusin Music Hall, in preparation for that evening's first performance. Admission to the opera ranges from $10 to $35; call 303-492-8008 or visit www.cuconcerts.org for tickets and information.
Wed., Oct. 24, 7 p.m., 2007