“…You will better appreciate and be grateful for your life upon viewing this passionate opera about life and death and the struggles we will all face when we finally look death in the face.”

~Houston Chronicle Commons

The press affirms what the audience members present at Houston Grand Opera’s premiere of Dead Man Walking experienced:  “However great an operatic and theatrical experience, Dead Man Walking makes its greatest impact as a purely human one.” ~ Houston Chronicle

“Absolute in its skill and devastating in its power, Houston Grand Opera’s Dead Man Walking more than lives up to the reputation that this uncompromising and thoroughly engrossing work has acquired since its world premiere at San Francisco Opera a decade ago…

Inspired by Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir of serving as spiritual adviser to Death Row inmates, composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally have stared unflinchingly into the dark heart of its difficult subject matter. Despite the fact that much of the action is unbearably painful, they find light and transcendence amid that darkness, thanks largely to the ennobling influence of their protagonist. Dead Man Walking wipes you out, yet its final impact is cathartic, uplifting and humanizing. Coincidentally, Heggie and McNally have written the most deeply and genuinely spiritual new work to inhabit either opera or theater stages in many years…

Joyce DiDonato returns to her NYCO role as Sister Helen and her life-changing portrayal proves an absolute revelation.”  ~Houston Chronicle (read the entire review here)

“Watching Houston Grand Opera’s production of the Jake Heggie/Terrence McNally collaboration is a harrowing experience. You will feel utterly drained when the final notes are sung a cappella and the character of Joseph De Rocher (a composite of Willie and a couple other Louisiana killers) lies dead on that cruciform gurney, killed by lethal injection rather than by the chair known as “Gruesome Gertie” that had been his actual fate. To Sister Helen’s credit, and especially to the credit of McNally’s no-holds-barred libretto, we are spared nothing: not the horrific nature of the rape and double murder itself, and certainly not (as is often alleged in pro-death penalty circles) the suffering of the victims or of the loved ones they leave behind.” ~ Houston Arts Week (read the entire review here)