Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) this month launches “Staging Connections,” a series of events exploring capital punishment that will lead up to the company’s performance this summer of Jake Heggie’s “Dead Man Walking.” The graphic, searing opera, about a defiant death-row inmate and a nun who reaches out to him, is based on Sister Helen Prejean’s autobiographical novel.
The provocative opera “is the most powerful thing I’ve ever seen in a theater,” says Michael Egel, DMMO’s general and artistic director. The related events are designed to “give people entry points” to the production, he adds.
Sponsored by the Des Moines law firm Weinhardt & Logan, “Staging Connections” builds on DMMO’s 2nd Stages Series, which aims to connect with new audiences through unexpected collaborations. Highlights include a performance and Q & A with Heggie (June 28 at 1:30 p.m. at The Temple for Performing Arts) and a conversation with Prejean (May 6 at 7 p.m. at Drake University).
A screening of the 1995 Oscar-winning film “Dead Man Walking,” also based on Prejean’s book, kicks off the series April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Fleur Cinema and Café ($5). The rest of the events are free: “Seventeen Minutes,” a juried art exhibit organized by Grand View University art professor Mary Jones, April 15 at 4 p.m. at Grand View; an opera preview and discussion with stage director Kristine McIntyre April 27 at 1:30 p.m. at the Des Moines Art Center; and an expert panel discussing the death penalty, with excerpts from the opera, June 4 at 7 p.m. at Drake Law School. For more information on “Staging Connections,” click here. To learn more about the opera and buy tickets, click here. –By Kellye Crocker