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Lyric Opera of Kansas City 2016-2017 Season Continues with Kansas City Premiere of DEAD MAN WALKING

Lyric Opera of Kansas City continues its 59th season with the powerful modern classic, Dead Man Walking, music by Jake Heggie and libretto by Terrence McNally, and based on the novel by Sister Helen Prejean, with performances March 4, 8, 10 and 12 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The production will be sung in English with English titles.

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City is proud to present the Kansas City debut of the modern classic, Dead Man Walking, the searing story of truth and redemption on Death Row. Dead Man Walking is the story of a profound spiritual journey taken by a nun and a convicted killer about to face the ultimate sentence. Based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean, the opera delves into the conflict between the act of murder, society's demand for retribution, redemption and forgiveness. Dead Man Walking is an unforgettable experience and promises to leave audiences stunned and breathless. Please note: this opera contains brief nudity, graphic violence and explicit language.

Dead Man Walking has become a must-see modern classic since it opened in 2000 to critical acclaim. It will be directed by Kristine McIntyre, in her seventh production for Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Kate Aldrich will portray Sister Helen Prejean in her Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut. Also making their Lyric Opera of Kansas City debuts, are David Adam Moore in the role of Joseph de Rocher, Maria Zifchak in the role of Mrs. Patrick de Rocher, and Conductor Steven Osgood.

General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler stated, "Dead Man Walking is a dramatically riveting and relevant story. I am proud that we are presenting this Lyric Opera premiere production and that we are presenting an in-depth series of community events, thanks to our partners including the Kansas City Public Library, American Public Square and KCPT. I look forward to many thoughtful conversations about the issues that surface in this opera."

About the Artists

Making her Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut as Sister Helen Prejean, mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, L'Opéra.de Montréal, and National Theatre in Prague among many others. The San Francisco Chronicle describes Ms. Aldrich as "...a singer with both the lustrous lower range and forceful high notes... She moves easily and arrestingly on stage, and infuses even the most transitory moments with a sense of dramatic purpose."

Also making his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut, David Adam Moore, in the role of Joseph de Rocher, is a highly sought-after leading baritone by major opera houses and orchestras worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Salzburg Festival, and Carnegie Hall.

Making her Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut in the role of Mrs. Patrick de Rocher, Maria Zifchak is a highly accomplished mezzo-soprano. Of her recent performance in Central City Opera's Dead Man Walking, Daily Camera claimed, "Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak, as De Rocher's mother, moves the audience to open weeping on several occasions." She performs regularly with The Metropolitan Opera, and has also performed with Opera Theater of St. Louis, Central City Opera, Arizona Opera, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera and Atlanta Opera.

Hailed for her voice of extraordinary beauty and her commitment to artistry, soprano Karen Slack performs the role of Sister Rose. She has collaborated with major conductors in opera houses and concert halls worldwide, including The Metropolitan Opera, Scottish Opera, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Carnegie Hall. Recent highlights include Serena in Porgy and Bess with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Verdi's Aïda with Austin Lyric Opera, Champion with Opera Parallèle, and her role debut as Alice Ford in Falstaff with Arizona Opera. She was previously seen with Lyric Opera of Kansas City in 2007 as Aïda.

Making his Lyric Opera of Kansas City debut, conductor Steven Osgood is General and Artistic Director of Chautauqua Opera. He brings a distinct musical incisiveness and dramatic insight to his work as a result of a unique combination of his experience in the world of theater as well as opera in repertoire ranging from the baroque through the contemporary era. He has worked with many of North America's premiere opera companies, including Canadian Opera Company, the San Francisco Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera, where he has served as Assistant Conductor for the world premiere of Tan Dun's The First Emperor, and acclaimed productions of Glass' Satyagraha, Adams' Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and Muhly's Two Boys, to name a few.

Notable conducting engagements include productions at New York City Opera (La Boheme, Seance on a Wet Afternoon), Netherlands Opera (Marco Polo), Edmonton Opera (Bluebeard's Castle, Erwartung, La Traviata), Chautauqua Opera (Peter Grimes, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Tosca), Hawaii Opera (Tosca), Opera Memphis (Die Fledermaus, This Is the Rill Speaking & Bon Appetite, The Rape of Lucretia, Glory Denied), Fort Worth Opera (Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox), Long Beach Opera (Ainadamar), Sarasota Opera (Little Nemo in Slumberland), Wolf Trap Opera (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Manhattan School of Music (The Mother of Us All, Griffelkin, Summer and Smoke, A Month in the Country, The Ghosts of Versailles), Beth Morrison Projects (Sumeida's Song, Song From the Uproar), Juilliard Opera Theater (Transformations), Northwestern University (The Ghosts of Versailles), DiCapo Opera (Floyd's Susannah, Picker's Thérèse Raquin) and the Miller Theater at Columbia University (Xenakis' Oresteia). Last season, he made a debut with The Atlanta Opera conducting Jake Heggie's Three Decembers and returned to Opera Saratoga to lead the premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck's The Long Walk. This season includes a return to the Fort Worth Opera for the premiere of David Little's J.F.K., a revival of Song From the Uproar to be presented by Los Angeles Opera, and La Traviata, The Mikado, and Songs from the Uproar for Chautauqua Opera.

Last season includes a return to the Fort Worth Opera for the premiere of David Little's J.F.K., a revival of Song From the Uproar presented by Los Angeles Opera, and La Traviata, The Mikado, and Songs from the Uproar for Chautauqua Opera. In September, he debuted with Opera Philadelphia conducting the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves, after which he returned to The Juilliard School to conduct Jonathan Dove's Flight. Later this season, he will debut with Utah Opera conducting The Long Walk.

Director Kristine McIntyre returns to Kansas City for her seventh Lyric Opera production. She has directed more than 75 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary and American works including Dead Man Walking, Soldier Songs, Three Decembers, Flight, Elmer Gantry, Of Mice and Men, Street Scene, The Tender Land, Bon Appétit, and the world premiers of Louis Karchin's Jane Eyre, Mark Lanz Weiser's The Place Where You Started and The Canticle of the Black Madonna. Known for her visually stunning and emotionally rich productions, her other Lyric Opera credits include last season's Don Giovanni, as well as the world premier of John Brown, The End of the Affair, Norma, Cosi Fan Tutte and The Turn of the Screw. Upcoming projects include new productions of Billy Budd and Jake Heggie's Moby Dick as well as Barber's Vanessa and Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas.

Principal Cast

Sister Helen Prejean: Kate Aldrich*

Joseph de Rocher: David Adam Moore*

Mrs. Patrick de Rocher: Maria Zifchak*

Sister Rose: Karen Slack

George Benton: Jeffrey Beruan

Father Grenville: Casey Candebat+*

Owen Hart: Daniel Belcher

Kitty Hart: April Martin+@

Howard Boucher: Brian Frutiger

Jade Boucher: Samantha Gossard +@

Motorcycle Cop: John Viscardi +

Artistic Staff

Director: Kristine McIntyre

Conductor: Steven Osgood *

Set Designer: R. Keith Brumley

Costume Designer: Scott Reid

Lighting Designer: Marcus Dilliard

Wig and Make-up Designer: Alison M. Hanks

Chorus Master: Mark Ferrell

Stage Manager: Erin Thompson- Janszen

~ UMKC Apprentice

+ Resident Artist

@ former Lyric Opera Apprentice

* Lyric Opera Debut

Ticket availability varies by performance. To purchase tickets, call Ticketing & Patron Services (816) 471-7344 or 1-800-OPERAKC (673-7252). Patrons can select their own seat and print their tickets at home by visiting www.kcopera.org. Limited student rush tickets are available for $15, cash only, one hour before the performances, with a valid student ID. Parental advisory: this opera will contain brief nudity, graphic violence and explicit language and is best suited for those ages 18 and up.

Young Friends of the Lyric

Young Friends of the Lyric provides an exciting outlet for young arts supporters (ages 21-40) in Kansas City to get involved in the community, meet other young adults and support the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Membership benefits include exclusive ticket offers, networking opportunities, restaurant discounts invitations to special events and more.

Young Friends of the Lyric membership is $30 for an individual, $50 for a couple, or $75 for a dual patron membership. To join, contact Ticketing & Patron Services at 816-471-7344. Become a fan on Facebook to keep up with current events.

About the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is a major center for music, opera, theater, and dance designed by Moshe Safdie opened September 2011. The Kauffman Center presents vibrant performances and advances the role of the performing arts as a catalyst for Kansas City's civic, economic, and educational vitality.

Three of the region's leading performing arts organizations-Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City-are in residence at the Kauffman Center. The Kauffman Center's two performance venues, the 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre and the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall, offer audiences engaging and intimate experiences, while at the same time providing resident companies with dramatically enhanced performance capabilities.

Serving as a cultural cornerstone for Kansas City's dynamic downtown, the Kauffman Center brings a new spotlight to the region's performing arts community while simultaneously attracting some of the world's most talented performers and entertainers, further establishing Kansas City as a major cultural destination.

More information on the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is available at kauffmancenter.org.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is fully accessible and provides assistive listening devices plus Braille and large print programs. Service animals are welcome with advance notice. All dates, operas and artists are subject to change.

Photo courtesy of Des Moines Metro Opera

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