A week ago, I spent Saturday evening at Union Avenue Opera, watching the performance of “Dead Man Walking.”
My wife, Victoria Brannan, has played with the Union Avenue Opera strings section as a violist for many years.
The orchestra is directed by Scott Schoonover and I always think he does a magnificent job. It’s obvious that music is in Scott’s soul from his head to toes by the energy he displays as he directs. I am prejudiced because my wife plays in the orchestra, but the musicians’ work is first class. It’s amazing what a solid orchestra does to help keep the cast and the production moving.
The opera cast of “Dead Man Walking” was also first class. At times, I felt as if the production was real because the performers were so believable in their different roles.
I thought Jordan Shanahan, who portrays Joseph De Rocher, and Elise Quagliata, who plays Sister Helen Prejean, in “Dead Man Walking” were both terrific. Robert Reed was captivating as George Benton, the prison warden. There was just something about the aura of Reed’s personality that automatically draws attention in his direction.
Performances are set at 8 tonight and Saturday at Union Avenue Christian Church of “Dead Man Walking.” Sister Helen Prejean visited the UAO production when it opened and that made for a memorable event. I think it is great she takes the time to visit the productions first hand.
This is the 17th season for Union AVenue Opera and from my years of watching I have to say those who come to see the productions will not be disappointed.
If you get a chance turn out tonight or Saturday to the the UOA closing shows of the season. The UOA performers and organizers would be most appreciative.