Mayes, Mechavich, and Slack impress in Atlanta Opera's "Dead Man Walking"

"Mayes is the quintessential De Rocher. He has performed the role in eight productions, and to date, nobody does it better. Mayes inhabits the role completely, the way a hand fits a glove.Barton and Mayes make for a compelling team, leading what can credibly be called the strongest overall cast in the the company’s recent history. . . Other standouts in the cast include . . . soprano Karen Slack as Sister Rose, a fellow nun at Hope House. . . The Atlanta Opera Orchestra, led by conductor Joseph Mechavich, provided an outstanding performance that underscored the drama’s emotional angst and turmoil. It is the orchestra that instrumentally sets the opera’s tone in the wordless Prologue to Act I, which portrays the brutal, grisly murder of a pair of teenage lovers on a date near a secluded lake in Louisiana" -Arts ATL

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"Among the many strengths of the current Atlanta Opera production is its evocation of the spirit of bygone works. . . conductor Joseph Mechavich draws out the lush, romantic elements of the sumptuous score. . . Mayes embodies the slimy danger of Joseph De Rocher and the character’s childish self-absorption, but he also brings out a converse touch of boyish charm; the audience’s sympathy for the character is neither straightforward nor easily won, but Mayes effectively navigates that complicated territory. . . Karen Slack as Sister Rose stands out in tender scenes of comfort" -Atlanta Journal Constitution

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“Baritone Michael Mayes portrayed Joseph De Rocher. Mayes is a large muscular presence on stage, which added significantly to his character’s fearsomeness and loathsomeness. His voice was consistently strong, his articulation wonderful. . . There were several notable vocal performances. . . Soprano Karen Slack portrayed Sister Rose, a close confidante of Prejean, and was impressive when singing a spiritual in the opening scene”


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