Teatro Real opera premieres in Spain Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking

Between days 26 January 9 February the Teatro Real offer 6 functions Dead Man Walking, from Jake Heggie, in a production of the Lyric Opera of Chicago from the Houston Grand Opera, where he appeared in 2011 with two of the singers who will perform the opera at the Royal Theater: mezzosoprano Joyce DiDonato and soprano Measha Brueggergosman.

Dead Man Walking It is the first opera Jake Heggie (Palm Beach, Florida, 1961) and the enormous success it has had since its premiere, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco in the year 2000, He has internationally projected the name of its composer, which has since written several stage works of different formats with an overwhelming pace: The End of the Affair (2004), At the Statue of Venus (2005), To Hell and Back (2006), Three Decembers (2008), Moby-Dick (2010), The Radio Hour (2014), Great Scott (2015), It’s a Wonderful Life (2016), among other.

With more 300 functions worldwide, ─desde diverse productions conservatories large teatros─, and two CD recordings ─protagonizadas by Susan Graham (2000) and Joyce DiDonato (2011)─, Dead Man Walking It opens in Spain with the presence of its composer and Sister Helen Prejean, author of the autobiographical book that inspired the opera and, before, in 1995, the acclaimed film Death penalty, Tim Robbins, with Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon (who won an Oscar for his performance) in the lead roles.

In his shocking story based on real events, Sister Helen Prejean has the disturbing and convulsive way of approaching a death row inmate who attends and protects the conviction that his repentance will help you find inner peace.

If Tim Robbins film clearly impinges on the ethical dilemmas of the death penalty, Heggie's opera, with libretto by playwright veteran Terrence McNally, It is an inner journey that started alongside the nun and the reo, each with its ghosts, their fears, contradictions, their feelings and doubts. In this way transformation and redemption, both are confronted with the weight of events: the thirst for revenge of parents of teenagers killed, the distress and suffering of the mother of a murderer, the struggle for the inviolable right to live, the relentless approach of death ...

Masterfully using vocal writing ─Jake Heggie has a catalog of more than 200 canciones─ language and with a musical heir of the American opera, Dead Man Walking seduces the viewer with a tonal language, African rhythms, melodies that evoke the spirit of the Street 42 and an orchestral and choral score of dramaturgical powerful force, who never shuns direct and emotional communication with the public.

An ensemble cast give voice to this opera, which will reach the Royal Theater with acclaimed staging Leonard Foglia, deep knowledge of the work of Jake Heggie, with whom he has collaborated in preparing the libretto The End of the Affair and the staging of all his operas.

Joyce DiDonato He will assume the lead role, with baritone Michael Mayes, who will play the murderer Joseph de Rocher, one of his favorite roles, he has played in a dozen productions in the United States. They will be backed by a broad range ─Maria Zifchak, Measha Brueggergosman, Damian del Castillo, Roger Padullés, Maria Hinojosa, Toni Marsol, Marta de Castro, Was VICENÇ, Enric Martínez-Castignani, Celia Alcedo, Marifé Nogales, Tomeu Bibiloni, Pablo Garcia-Lopez Y Alvaro Martin─ acting by the children's choir Little Singers of ORCAM and the Headlines Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, under the direction of Mark Wigglesworth.

Dead Man Walking will come to Spain preceded by a path of success, Jake Heggie attributed to the intrinsic power of opera as an art that excites and invites reflection: “the theater offers us the opportunity to get carried away by the drama to unexpected places, and the music puts us in touch with aspects of human nature in which we would otherwise repaired.”


15 January to 12 February. Monday 19.30 a 22 hours | International Institute

Page to stage

English course around Dead Man Walking

23 from January, to 20.15 hours | Teatro Real, Sala Gayarre

approaches: colloquy with artists Dead Man Walking


  • Sister Helen Prejean, author of autobiographical book Dead Man Walking
  • Mark Wigglesworth, director musical de Dead Man Walking
  • Leonard Foglia, stage director Dead Man Walking
  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director of Teatro Real, moderator

Free entry until complete seats

25 from January, to 19.30 hours | Teatro Real, Sala Gayarre

Round table: ‘Dead Man Walking’: Culture of violence, death penalty and redemption


  • Federico Mayor Zaragoza, honorary president of the International Commission against the Death Penalty (CIPM) and former Director General of UNESCO
  • Juan Ignacio Morro, Director-General of the United Nations and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain
  • Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book Dead Man Walking, in which the eponymous opera and the film is based Death penalty, Tim Robbins
  • Joaquín José Martínez, first Spanish man to leave death row in the United States
  • Asunta Vivó, executive director of the CIPM
  • Esteban Beltran, director of Amnesty International Spain, moderator

Free admission prior confirmation. Mail: anastasia.herranz@icomdp.org

1, 8 Y 15 February, from 19.00 a 21.00 hours | Teatro Real, Parallel activities room

Course: American musical theater

De Weill a Sondheim: Tradition and innovation in the Broadway musical

Alberto Look

18 February, to 12.00 hours | Teatro Real, Great room

Chamber Sundays

Obras de Jake Heggie (flute and piano soliloquy), Kurt Weill (String Quartet op. 8), Juan José Colomer (Fireabrass Y Trio for flute, viola and harp) y Johannes Brahms (Cuarteto with piano nº 1 in the lower)

Soloists of the Titular Orchestra of the Teatro Real