horizontal line

Cold Mountain also reveals a world thrown into turmoil, this time by the American Civil War. Jennifer Higdon’s opera is set to Gene Scheer’s libretto, adapting Charles Frazier’s novel about a couple’s fight for survival against insurmountable odds. Recorded live at Santa Fe Opera, it’s a notable achievement. Higdon’s music is highly accessible, allowing the voices to stand out and text to be heard. It’s persuasive, with a wide palette and inventive orchestration. The structure provides flashbacks, so relationships and motivation are explored, and there is strong musical and dramatic propulsion. The final scenes are particularly gripping as all the strands of the story are gathered, and Higdon provides a skilfully composed ensemble that gives voice to all the main characters retrospectively. Miguel Harth-Bedoya’s conducting holds a large cast together, and relaxes the tension to provide some repose. Isabel Leonard’s Ada has a high and bright mezzo, with exemplary diction and she works superbly well with Nathan Gunn, who delineates Inman’s indomitable spirit with a solid baritone. Emily Fons’ mezzo Ruby contrasts well with Leonard, her voice richer, her personality more mercurial. Ultimately it’s a marvellous opera for a wide range of singers, and truly gets under the skin.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

   Read full review   

To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.

Read more classical music reviews online here:

Opera Now, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing