Heggie, Dead Man Walking
Cincinnati Opera, 2002

Dead Man Walking: A triumph

by Charles H Parsons

In the 15 years I have been reviewing opera and recordings, I never thought that I would see on one stage in one evening a perfect performance. But such was the case with Cincinnati Operas presentation of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (July 11). In its Midwest premiere, the operas three performances were basically sold out (Music Hall, 3421 seats!). Here was a startling combination of powerful drama, effective music, and a performance uncompromising in its high musical values.


Conductor Stefan Lano galvanized his large musical forces to a degree of intensity that went beyond the merely musical to create a realism with touching depths of humanity. There was an overall feeling that this was a special occasion, not "just another opera performance".