Dead Man Walking: Met Live in HD -- John Frey
Wednesday, October 18 2023 1:00pm - 4:00pm
SLO County Office of Education
$5 for LLCC Members $10 for Others
Dead Man Walking is an opera composed by American Jake Heggie based on the book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. The book (1993) is a work of non-fiction by Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun. Arising from her work as a spiritual adviser to two convicted murderers on death Row, the book is set largely at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola). It examines both sides of the moral and practical issues related to the men's crimes and to the state's use of the death penalty. Prejean also meets with parents of murdered victims.
The first man Prejean visits is Elmo Patrick Sonnier, who is sentenced to death by electric chair. She becomes his spiritual adviser in the months leading up to his execution. The second is Robert Lee Willie, for whom she also serves as spiritual adviser. Prejean gains insight into the minds of these convicted murderers and the process involved in executions. She is convinced that the state's use of the death penalty is morally wrong and speaks out against capital punishment. When guards lead a condemned man down the prison hallway, they call out, "Dead man walking!"
Because no video of the opera is available you will view a movie based on the book. Dead Man Walking is a 1995 American movie adapted from the book of the same name. At the 68th Academy Awards, Dead Man Walking was nominated in four categories: Susan Sarandon won for Best Actress, Sean Penn was nominated for Best Actor, Tim Robbins was nominated for Best Director and its main sound track "Dead Man Walkin'" was nominated for Best Original Song.
You can see the opera live-streamed at either Downtown Center Theater in SLO or Santa Maria Town Center Stadium 14 on 10/21/2023 at 9:55a.m. Admission to the movie theaters is on your own.
The course uses a DVD of the complete movie and a 19-page syllabus including biographies, production, sources, commentary, analysis and synopses. Participants will discuss issues related to the efficacy, costs motives and morality of the death penalty.
John Frey taught chemistry and engaged in chemical research for 45 years at several universities and is now retired. He serves on the Board of Directors of OperaSLO, Canzona, and the Lifelong Learners of the Central Coast and is a member of the Rotary Club. He teaches courses on classic movies, opera and musical theater for LLCC and OperaSLO. He has had over 7 decades of singing experience with various choral groups and has performed in the choruses of of the SLO Master Chorale and OperaSLO.