Dead Man Walking

7:30 pm
See the full calendar

DURATION: 2:45 hrs.


HALL: Wilfrid-Pelletier

LOCATION: Place des Arts

PREOPERA: 6:30 pm

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Dead Man Walking

In its big Quebec premiere: a powerful, leading work of today’s opera repertoire—acclaimed the world over—and a strong appeal against the death penalty. The true story of Sister Helen Prejean, which inspired the Oscar-winning film, is staged here by one of the leading lights of Canadian opera stage direction, Alain Gauthier.


In his cell, a prisoner condemned to die awaits his final hour, abandoned by all. One person dares to make her way through the prison gates, a nun who cannot tolerate the idea of a man dying without the face of love before him…

  • Opera in 2 acts
  • Libretto: Terrence McNally based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ
  • Premiere: War Memorial Hall Opera House, San Francisco, Octobre 2000
  • Sung in English with English and French surtitles
  • Production: Fort Worth Opera

New Production



Sister Helen Prejean Allyson McHardy / Joseph De Rocher Etienne Dupuis / Mrs. Patrick De Rocher Kimberly Barber / Sister Rose Chantale Nurse / George Benton Alain Coulombe / Owen Hart Thomas Goerz / Kitty Hart Mariateresa Magisano / Father Grenville John Mac Master / Jade Boucher Mia Lennox-Williams / Howard Boucher Kurt Lehmann / Sister Catherine Aidan Ferguson / Sister Lillianne Rachèle Tremblay / A Motor Cop Philip Kalmanovitch / Prison Guard 1 Patrick Mallette / Prison Guard 2 Jeremy Bowes / Younger Brother Olivier Bergeron / Older Brother Aaron Sheppard / Inmates Gaétan Sauvageau, Geoffroy Salvas, Clermont Tremblay, Benoît Leblanc, Normand Richard / A Mother Catherine Lavoie / Mrs. Charlton Valérie Bélanger / A Child / Paralegal / Conductor Wayne Marshall / Director Alain Gauthier / Set Designers Harry Frehner+Scott Reid / Costume Designer Scott Reid / Lighting Designer Éric W. Champoux / Chœur de l’Opéra de Montréal Orchestre Métropolitain


Place à l’opéra Series

Explore opera with passionate experts who shed a new light on opera! All presentations are hosted by lecturer Richard Turp (Segal Centre) and musicologist Pierre Vachon (Grande bibliothèque).

28 february 2013, 7 pm – Grande Bibliothèque (In French)

4 march 2013, 7 :30 pm– Segal Center - $5
-Chantal Lambert, soprano and director, Atelier lyrique
-Béatrice Vaugrante, general director, Amnisty international francophone Canada


A dynamic and “user-friendly” introduction to the performance. Hosted by musicologist Pierre Vachon, this get-together is like a journey into the heart of the work’s music and history, its libretto and its symbols, the production’s artists, etc.

  • Language: in French with brief summary in English.
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Place: Piano Nobile, salle Wilfrid-Pelletier
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Cost: Free for subscribers ; $5 for general public




La Presse – Claude Gingras

Dead Man Walking: deeply moving. Words fail to describe all of the emotions we are put through over the devastating three-hour period… Etienne Dupuis and Allyson McHardy, he as a condemned man, she as a nun, dominate the performance with extraordinary force, each giving their respective characters a supple voice that faithfully conveys all of the nuances of the text. Stage director Alain Gauthier, in moving all of these people around with perfection worthy of some kind of brilliant reality series, has here given us one of the greatest successes of his career. The convict’s final scene is unforgettable…

Le Devoir – Christophe Huss

A masterpiece at the opera. Dead Man Walking is a masterpiece… [and] a great and overwhelming performance, a well-oiled machine in every aspect, operated by a perfectly inspired stage team. Alain Gauthier returns to the grace of Suor Angelica and his Pagliacci/Gianni Schicchi double-bill. Dead Man Walking is carried by Etienne Dupuis in a state of anxiety, with physical singing that is always perfectly under control, but also by Allyson McHardy who transcends her limits with a visceral investment. Dead Man Walking is also illuminated by Wayne Marshall's pure conducting and by four exceptional compositions for the secondary roles: Thomas Goerz, Kimberley Barber, Alain Coulombe, and John Mac Master… Heggie [the composer] is cunning, gifted with supreme intelligence. Mission accomplished, 100%.

The Gazette – Lev Bratishenko

The cast were all first-rate actors. Etienne Dupuis and Allyson McHardy were a phenomenal pair. Kimberly Barber’s shapely mezzo stood out, while the rest of the cast were a wash of unusually fine acting. I’ve never seen so many tears. This is opera headed in the right direction, toward its audience. You should see it.

“Puisqu’il faut se lever” – 98.5 FM Montreal – Émilie Perreault

Etienne Dupuis was frankly extraordinary on stage. His acting is nuanced. He earned my full admiration. I cried; you really need to be in the hall with the performers to experience that.

“C’est bien meilleur le matin” – Première chaîne Radio-Canada – Stéphane Leclair

All of the performers are superb. Talented, extremely gifted, especially Etienne Dupuis… he’s a singer, but he’s an exceptional actor, he can perform… sick with worry from beginning to end, it’s a revelation; he is really very, very good. – Andrew Crust

The singing was magnificent tonight. Tonight the staging, costumes, sets and lighting worked in perfect symbiosis, creating a formidably realistic environment from which to deliver this potent drama. I have scarcely been so moved in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. 5 stars – Louis Bilodeau

Manifestement monté avec beaucoup de soin et servi par des interprètes admirables, le spectacle véhicule une puissante charge émotive qui nous laisse pantelants à l'issue de la soirée. Sans jamais verser dans le pathos, la mise en scène d'Alain Gauthier s'avère d'une parfaite justesse et d'une grande efficacité dramatique. Étienne Dupuis est un Joseph extraordinaire à tous points de vue : sa splendide voix de baryton traduit à la perfection les affres d'un personnage que son jeu rend particulièrement touchant. Allyson McHardy campe une Soeur Helen d'une compassion infinie aussi bien envers le criminel que les parents de ses victimes. Son riche timbre de mezzo convient bien au rôle et elle fait preuve d'une belle endurance tout au long de l'opéra. Le chef britannique Wayne Marshall insuffle à l'Orchestre Métropolitain toute la vigueur dramatique que requiert la partition, notamment dans le magnifique sextuor du premier acte et les dernières scènes de l'œuvre.


The Gazette
Voir- Télé-Québec
La Presse
Le Journal de Montréal
Radio-Canada Télé
Radio-Canada Radio - C'est bien meilleur le matin
Radio-Canada Radio - Catherine Perrin
98,5 FM

11 décembre 2012