Kirstin ChavezI was just in Tulsa, Oklahoma, giving talks and media interviews for the opera of Dead Man Walking, which opens on February 25, performed by the Tulsa Opera. I got to meet the entire cast, including the 12 or so children, whose piping young voices inject hope.

Immediately after I left, Kirstin Chavez, the mezzo who will portray me (her aria is “My journey…”) got on Facebook with Susan Graham and Joyce DiDonato who have been me in past operas. I heard the Sr Helen Trio had a lively chat, with the two vets offering robust encouragement to Kirstin.

I appreciate opera singers now that I realize how long they prepare, how hard they work, and the stress they feel. In an interview with Tulsa World, Kirstin said that the director, Johnathon Pape, told the cast that “Dead Man Walking” was a costly opera, and she went on to say:

“And it is - physically, emotionally, vocally. I’m one of those singers who can’t do anything halfway, even rehearsals. So going through some of these scenes several times in a day is like opening up a new vein.”

The opera, now in its 12th year, is widely acclaimed as a very successful modern opera. It has “legs,” they say. Kind of neat since it is, after all, Dead Man WALKING.

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