Cold Mountain is an American opera co-commission by the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Minnesota Opera. Cold Mountain originally premiered at the Santa Fe Opera on August 1, 2015. The production coincided with the 150th anniversary of the ending of the American Civil War. The music for Cold Mountain is by Jennifer Higdon and the libretto is by Gene Scheer. It is based on Charles Frazier’s 1997 novel, Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain Synopsis
The opera follows the American journey of W.P. Inman, a wounded Civil War soldier who deserts the Confederate Army at great peril to reunite with his love, Ada Monroe, whose once privileged life on Cold Mountain has become one of loneliness and deprivation. As Inman makes his way home, he wonders if the violence he has experienced has made him unworthy of love, and is forced to question just where his allegiance lies. Amidst the destruction of the American Civil War, a pivotal conflict in our nation’s history, the transformative journeys of Inman and Ada go to the very center of their souls.
“Cold Mountain, the novel by Charles Frazier, won the National Book Award, was a major bestseller, and an Academy Award-winning film,” says General Director Charles MacKay. “It is a magnificent story that has touched readers throughout the world, and we here at The Santa Fe Opera are honored to add an opera to its distinguished provenance.”
The Inspiration Behind Cold Mountain
During the Santa Fe Opera performances, PBS News Hour ran a special titled, “Civil War Tragedy ‘Cold Mountain’ Inspires Opera.” It took a closer look at how the opera came about and the story that inspired it. Here is that segment:
Sold Out Cold Mountain Performances
Demand for Cold Mountain was strong at the Santa Fe Opera as it premiered to several sold-out performances resulting in an additional performance being added.
In all, there were six straight sold-out performances, making it one of their most popular operas of all time.
Cold Mountain Grammy Nominations
Santa Fe Opera’s Cold Mountain received two GRAMMY® Award nominations for the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards which were held on February 12, 2017. The first nomination was for Best Opera Recording and the second for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. While Cold Mountain didn’t win either category, it did win for best World Premiere at the 2016 International Opera Awards in London.
Here is the info for the Best Opera Recording nomination:
“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard & Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers)
And here is the info for the Best Contemporary Classical Composition nomination:
“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Jennifer Higdon, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jay Hunter Morris, Emily Fons, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn & the Santa Fe Opera)
Cold Mountain Team
The director of the premiere production at Santa Fe Opera was Leonard Foglia, with set design by Robert Brill, lighting design by Brian Nason, costumes by David C. Woolard, and projection design by Elaine J. McCarthy. Miguel Harth-Bedoya was the conductor. Music by Jennifer Higdon. Adaptation by librettist Gene Scheer.
Inman – Nathan Gunn
Ada – Isabel Leonard
Ruby – Emily Fons
Teague – Jay Hunter Morris
Veasey – Roger Honeywell
Monroe / Pangle – Anthony Michaels-Moore
Stobrod / Blind Man – Kevin Burdette
Lucinda – Deborah Nansteel
Sara – Chelsea Basler
Reid – Roy Hage
Owens / Ethan – Robert Pomakov
Lila – Bridgette Gan
Katie – Heather Phillips
Olivia – Shabnam Kalbasi
Claire – Megan Marino
Junior / Charlie – Daniel Bates
Thomas – Tyler Putnam
Cold Mountain Videos
Here is a preview of Cold Mountain that Santa Fe Opera released before the performances. Following that are a couple of videos of scenes from the Santa Fe Opera performance of Cold Mountain: