Recording of Cold Mountain


Composer Jennifer Higdon and librettist Gene Scheer’s Cold Mountain, which received its world premiere here in 2015, continues to garner major accolades and awards. A co-commission and co-production by The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Minnesota Opera in collaboration with North Carolina Opera, the work is based on Charles Frazier’s 1997 historical novel of the same name, which won the National Book Award for Fiction.

In February, Opera Philadelphia gave the East Coast premiere of the piece to positive reviews and large audiences. Former Santa Fe Apprentice Artist Jarrett Ott took the lead baritone role of Inman, replacing the part’s creator, Nathan Gunn, who had to withdraw on short notice due to a family illness. Ott has been associated with the character and the opera’s creative process for four years: He workshopped the role twice in 2012 and 2013, and sang with the full cast in a March 2015 presentation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Both Minnesota Opera and North Carolina Opera will mount the piece during their upcoming seasons.

A live recording drawn from the 2015 Santa Fe performances has been issued on the Pentatone label, and is for sale in the company Opera Shop. It features The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya. The singers include Gunn as Inman, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Ada Monroe, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons as Ruby Thewes, and tenor Jay Hunter Morris as Teague.

Most recently, on May 15, The Santa Fe Opera earned a 2016 International Opera Award for the premiere of Cold Mountain, which is the latest in a long line of operatic premieres by The Santa Fe Opera — 14 world premieres and 45 American premieres. In just the past few years, 2009 saw the world premiere of Paul Moravec’s commission of The Letter, while 2010 featured the world premiere of Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream. Theodore Morrison’s commission Oscar took the stage in 2013, while Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-sen was mounted in 2014 in its American premiere. The 2016 production of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio harks back to 1958, when The Santa Fe Opera mounted the work’s first professional American staging.


Grammy Award Nominations

Cold Mountain has been nominated for two categories of the 59th Grammy Awards, best opera recording and best contemporary composition.

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New Works

The Santa Fe Opera is proud to play a major role in the commissioning and producing of new American opera. Our company has produced 14 world premieres, in addition to over 40 American premieres. 

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