Dead Man Walking

November 02. 2019 - November 22. 2019

Upcoming Dates

November 02. 2019 - November 22. 2019

Lyric Premiere & New-to-Chicago Production Dead Man Walking


A young couple is brutally killed, and the convicted murderer, Joseph De Rocher, sits on death row. Sister Helen Prejean agrees to be his spiritual adviser. As she meets his family, and the families of his victims, she begins questioning every attitude she has about how human beings treat each other. Based on real-life events, Jake Heggie’s music and Terrence McNally’s libretto explore the nature of friendship and forgiveness in the most profound ways. Hugely acclaimed in major houses internationally, Dead Man Walking is widely acknowledged as one of the most riveting operas of the 21st century. It simply demands to be seen.

  • Language: Sung in English with projected English text
  • Running Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes with 1 intermission
  • Location: Lyric Opera House

Dead Man Walking

By Jake Heggie & Terrence McNally

The music featured is generously furnished by Warner Classics.

"He will gather us around"

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"This journey"

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"God's love and forgiveness"

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Dead Man Walking

By Jake Heggie & Terrence McNall

Lyric Opera Commentaries are sponsored by the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation in memory of their parents.

© 2019/20 Lyric Opera Commentaries. All rights reserved.
The music featured is generously furnished by Warner Classics.
A project of the Women’s Board.



Time early 1980s | Place Louisiana

Program book

Go inside this production of Dead Man Walking with engaging articles, notes from the director, a complete plot synopsis, artist bios, and more.


Meet the artists

* Lyric debut
** Ryan Opera Center alumna

Lyric premiere of Heggie’s Dead Man Walking generously made possible by

Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow

Production owned by Lyric Opera of Chicago. Originally created by Opera Pacific, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, and Baltimore Opera.

Music by Jake Heggie. Libretto by Terrence McNally. Based on the novel by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ. Commissioned by San Francisco Opera.

Photos: Ken Howard