Asheville author Charles Frazier’s ‘Cold Mountain’ gets treatment as opera


Asheville author Charles Frazier’s Civil War-era story of love and survival, Cold Mountain, is getting treatment as an opera. From NPR:

Two Pulitzer winners — Jennifer Higdon and Kevin Puts — continue the trend of taking books and films to the opera stage with Cold Mountain and The Manchurian Candidate. And conductor Michael Tilson Thomas re-creates the famously long 1808 concert where Beethoven premiered his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and his Choral Fantasy.

Higdon’s Cold Mountain, with a libretto by Gene Sheer, is based on Charles Frazier’s best-selling novel and debuts Aug. 1 at the Santa Fe Opera. Nathan Gunn stars as Confederate soldier W. P. Inman, who deserts the army for his beloved Ada, played by Isabel Leonard, and his home on Cold Mountain in North Carolina.

Anthony Minghella’s 2003 movie adaptation earned a Best Supporting Actress award for Renée Zellweger. Cold Mountain is Higdon’s first opera and she says she’s both excited and nervous. “I’m anxious to see if it works on the stage and with orchestra,” she told NPR Music.

“When it comes down to it, the music has to carry the weight of the responsibility.” Nothing was easy about composing her first opera, but there was one unexpected consequence.