Bass Instincts

While opera and tragedy go hand in hand, the misfortunes of the characters in Carmen, La Bohème and Madama Butterfly might seem tepid to today’s audiences, who’ve been dazed by the horrors of the nightly news. Rather than entombing opera in solemnity and begging audiences to care, Central City Opera is embarking on the Prisons, Compassion and Redemption Project, a series of events contemplating capital punishment as a lead-up to the company’s production of Dead Man Walking, an opera based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book about her work with an inmate on death row.

Tonight, Sister Prejean herself will launch the project by signing books at a screening of the gut-wrenching film version of Dead Man. “The piece looks at the concept of capital punishment; neither the movie nor the opera takes a stand on the issue, but they certainly present it,” says CCO general director Pelham G. Pearce Jr. “We decided to create opportunities to connect with the community around this issue. It makes us more than a museum. It makes opera more topical, something that speaks to issues.”

Tonight’s free event will be at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street Denver, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Get more information at or 303-292-6500.
Wed., March 12, 6:30-9:30 p.m., 2014

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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris