Dead Man Walking with Joyce DiDonato at the Barbican
This was a very smart move from the Barbican. As one of the last 20th century mainstream operas it had been premiered though all America and Europe but the UK premiere was still waiting. So the Barbican took the Teatro Real production that has been staging this month in Madrid: singers, conductor, director, stage design, costumes… everything but the orchestra, choir and sets and brought it to London. That meant minimal rehearsal times and minimal cost resulting in an almost fully-stage opera at very low price.
There is a reason for such an international success for this opera: it’s very good easy listening and very effective dramatic piece. Even if it’s tricky in its meanings it achieves its purpose of moving the spectator.
I don’t like all the christian crap of redemption though acknowledging the guilt the work is all about and at the end I got emotional. There is only one explanation for it: it’s good music and drama that was perfectly staged, acted and sung.
I would have been more interested on the the non-religious fight against the dead penalty that is totally missing from the libretto but anyway I enjoyed it a lot. How tricky is opera!