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惠诚留学移民 Group

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The Metropolitan Opera: Dead Man Walking 2023 Movie Online

Based on Sister Helen Prejean's memoir about her fight for the soul of a condemned murderer, Dead Man Walking matches the high drama of its subject with ...

It was a long trek, but Dead Man Walking finally made it the last mile to the Metropolitan Opera Tuesday night. The death-row drama by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally has attained the status of a contemporary classic, logging over 70 productions worldwide since its premiere at the San Francisco Opera in 2000. At long last, a new production by Ivo van Hove, postponed from the Met’s canceled 2000-21 season, opened the company’s 2023-24 season. In Tuesday’s cast were the two mezzo-sopranos who have recorded the role of Sister Helen Prejean, the real-life nun and spiritual advisor to convicted murderers (and later, outspoken opponent of the death penalty): Susan Graham, who created the role in San Francisco, and (as Sister Helen) Joyce DiDonato, who performed and recorded it with the Houston Grand Opera in. It was also not the first time around the track for the vocally and physically imposing Ryan McKinny as the murderer Joseph De Rocher, having performed the role in Chicago, with Graham appearing as De Rocher’s mother. She repeated that role Tuesday night. Suffice it to say that, for the Met’s first go at Dead Man Walking, the company engaged singers who already knew their way around the score. The new elements of this production included conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, whose sensitive pacing matched the drama’s emotional swings from frozen desolation to heart-pounding terror, and director van Hove, whose bold visual concepts served the material better at some points than at others. Heggie’s score—whose default was a burble of horns and woodwinds under the dialogue, occasionally rising to a pounding beat or a percussive roar—supported the drama without calling attention to itself. An invented “old hymn tune,” Sister Helen’s theme throughout the opera, was the nearest thing to what the real-life Sister Helen requested from Heggie—“melodies that people can hum.” While Heggie was right to say there were opera-size emotions in Sister Helen’s dive from a prisoner’s pen pal to the depths of the death-penalty machine, the composer mostly bypassed showy coloratura in favor of knotty inner feelings. Always solid vocally, DiDonato embodied vulnerability as her character was battered by guilt, self-doubt and disgust to the point of collapsing to the floor as the lights went down on Act I. One rooted for her faith to rally her in Act II, which it did, in scattered moments of reconciliation with the murderer and the victims’ parents. But the opera offered no feel-good solutions to the twin horrors of teenagers killed by an angry drunk and a man cold-bloodedly killed by the state. According to the composer, from the start he and McNally insisted that these traumatic events be depicted onstage, not just implied or referred to. This production handled the two dramatic bookends in radically different ways: the crime in a blurry night video to start the opera, with the teens and their attackers in a chaotic struggle ending in dimly-seen shooting and stabbing, and the killer’s execution in a brightly lit room, a slow, clinical process of lethal injection, videoed live and projected many times life size in excruciating closeup. Composer and librettist said they were creating a spiritual drama, not a polemic, but it seemed van Hove’s stark version of this closing scene would make a death-penalty opponent out of all but the hardest-hearted.


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