Even some seasoned opera-goers balk at the perceived dissonance between a Renaissance-born artform and a contemporary story. Don’t be one of those people. Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir of her time spent counseling a convicted killer awaiting his execution in 1980s Louisiana inspired an Oscar-winning 1995 movie, and it also has all the elements of classic opera: murder, high emotions, tragic inevitability, and a quest for spiritual redemption. Perhaps that’s why it has become the most-performed new opera of this millennium, boasting music from the acclaimed Jake Heggie and a libretto from multiple Tony Award winner Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman). Dead Man Walking should also contrast nicely with the Minnesota Opera’s May production of Thaïs, about a far more dubious spiritual advisor. Mezzo-soprano Catherine Martin co-stars as Sister Helen alongside Seth Carico as the doomed man in this production directed by Joel Ivany and featuring conductor Michael Christie.