In October 2015, Indiana University Opera Theater at the Jacobs School of Music performed Jake Heggie's “Dead Man Walking,” an opera exploring the social and spiritual implications of the death penalty. Educational programming was presented on campus in conjunction with the opera, highlighted by a visit from Sister Helen Prejean, author of the 1993 nonfiction book that inspired the opera. Prejean presented a public lecture while on campus, and also met with students in the opera’s cast, including leads Sarah Ballman and Rachel Evans, doctoral students at the Jacobs School of Music who portrayed her in the opera.
“Meeting Sister Prejean really reinforced to me that this was so much bigger than my performance,” Evans said. “We’re accomplishing something here, changing people’s minds and getting them to think.”
Educational programming surrounding “Dead Man Walking” was sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics at the IU Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions.