JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1962): Cold Mountain.
Catalogue Number: 04R077
Reference: PTC 5186 583
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Higdon's first opera, to a libretto by Gene Scheer (who has previously collaborated on highly successful operas by Jake Heggie, Tobias Picker and others, after the award-winning novel by Charle Frazier, is an involving human drama telling the story of the tribulations and hardships of people affected by the Civil War. Frazier's novel was acclaimed for its rendition of the rhythms and vernacular of Southern speech of the period from different levels of society, and this is perfectly preserved in Scheer's libretto and Higdon's vocally grateful, eloquent word-setting in traditional aria, duet and ensemble numbers. The work centers around the intersection between a doomed love story; the companionship, born of necessity, of two women; and the brutal treatment meted out to deserters from the Confederate army. Higdon's score is tonal and neo-romantic, with many subtle, ingenious touches drawn from folk and popular idioms to provide local color, while never resorting to eclectic pastiche. The story alternates dramatic action and beautifully delineated studies of the personal interactions between characters, and Higdon illustrates both in music of driven intensity and melodic intimacy, as appropriate. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Isabel Leonard, Emily Fons (mezzos), Nathan Gunn (baritone), Jay Hunter Morris (tenor), Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Miguel Harth-Bedoya.