Jennifer Higdon: Cold Mountain
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"In what is the second of three opera releases for Pentatone in 2016, Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain is a true gem."
--John Clare, WBAA, April 25, 2016
"About two-fifths of the opera, which features a creative and adroit adaptation by librettist Gene Scheer, is the kind of strong, original, ear-grabbing writing one would expect from Higdon, whose orchestral scores are justifiably praised for their refreshing vitality and brilliant colors. And indeed, any time the opera's action heats up, or something ominous such as a storm or an attack rears its head, Higdon provides music with grit, substance and fire. The instrumental interludes are some of Higdon's best material, and her bad-guy characterization of the fearsome Teague, leader of a posse that hunts down war deserters, is exceptionally striking."
--Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News, June 2016
"Indeed this is her first attempt at an opera and again it is a most rewarding work. It is a dark and dramatic tale based upon Charles Frazier's novel of love and loss during the American Civil War, with Higdon concentrating on the dramatic integrity of the text."
"The cast is well balanced."
"The booklet is excellent."
"On the evidence of her first opera it will not be long before she receives another commission." --MusicWeb International, Stuart Sillitoe, July 2016
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Some of the reviews of this opera left me feeling that the negative reviewers and I were not at the same performances. The audience's standing ovation lends much credit to this superb production. I can't wait to see it again closer to my home when The Minnesota Opera mounts its production.
One other element of the story seems to have been missed by some of the reviewers and even the printed program. This was more than a love story. As did the book and movie, the opera effectively captured the horror that was the Civil War. There was much depravity and destruction in that war which was musically captured in Higdon's "Cold Mountain."