Saturday, January 22, 2011

Philip Cutlip Leads All-Star Cast of "Dead Man Walking" in Houston

Philip Cutlip in Houston's "Dean Man Walking"

The Houston Grand Opera has assembled an all-star cast for Jake Heggie's "Dead Man Walking" that would make La Scala or the Metropolitan Opera envious. Heading the cast is barihunk Philip Cutlip as Joseph De Rocher, who has created a buzz on opera blogs and in the mainstream press [see the feature from Houston magazine below]. Joining Cutlip will be the legendary mezzo Frederica von Stade, who will make her farewell to the stage as De Rocher's mother. Two of the world's greatest Rosina's from the Barber of Seville, Joyce Di Donato and Susanne Mentzer, will portray Sister Helen Prejean and Jade Boucher respectively. Measha Brueggergosman will make her Houston Grand Opera debut in the role of Sister Rose.

"Dead Man Walking" has become one of the most popular contemporary operas and has quickly made it into the standard repertory. Like Simon Boccanegra, Don Giovanni and Boris Godunov, it has become a vehicle for the greatest baritones of our time. Because the character works out in prison and has to look impressive physically, the role has always been portrayed by barihunks. The Canadian premiere featured Daniel Okulitch, who also performed the role at the Ft. Worth Opera. Other barihunks who have sung the role include Mel Ulrich, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Marcus DeLoach and John Packard, who will perform the role of Owen Hart in Houston's current production.

Philip Cutlip sporting his prison mustache

Performances will run from Saturday January 22nd through Sunday February 6th. Tickets and additional cast information are available at the Houston Grand Opera website. Here is the highlight video from the opera's website:

Here is the #1 feature of Houston magazine's "Best of Culture," featuring the star of "Dead Man Walking":

Barihunk Philip Cutlip: Best of Culture (Photo by Dorothy Hong)

DEATH  Becomes HIM 
Best o f Cu lt u r e

#1 Opera stars die many deaths. But for “barihunk” Philip Cutlip, 44, facing execution in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for HGO—based on the same true story as the 1995 Sean Penn movie—is different. Tougher than performing in boxers in H-Town fave Heggie’s The End of the Affair. “I’ve never been squeamish about exposing all of myself onstage, [but] portraying a man being executed will be far more internally emotional,” says Cutlip. “With every breath he takes, word he utters, person he sees, he knows that he will die.” Besides poignancy, the now 10-year-old show is rife with milestones: Joyce DiDonato reprises the role of Sister Helen Prejean, in which she debuted in New York, and world-renowned Frederica von Stade will retire after playing Cutlip’s mother. “A very moving passing of the torch,” says San Francisco-based Houston fan Heggie, 49, “and to be here for the 10th anniversary is so special.”
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1 comment:

  1. Shout out to John Packard who created the role of De Rocher in the world premiere who joins this cast as Owen Hart.