Violence, Trauma, Radical Empathy In The Atlanta Opera's 'Dead Man Walking'

Jan 31, 2019

The Atlanta Opera's production of "Dead Man Walking" tells the story of Sister Helen Prejean and her relationship with death row inmate Joseph de Rocher. It's based on Prejean's real-life book chronicling her prison ministry. Prejean wrote about her experiences as a spriritual counselor to death row inmates Elmo Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie in the book, which the production amalgamates into de Rocher's character.

GPB's Sarah Zaslaw spoke to Tomer Zvulun, the Atlanta Opera's artistic director, and Georgia native Jamie Barton, who plays Sister Helen in the production. They discussed ideas of justice, forgiveness and how the opera wrestles with the dignity of victims and perpetrators of violence.

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