Opera Philadelphia's Cold Mountain - 6abc Loves the Arts

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Cold Mountain is at the Academy of Music, February 5-14. (WPVI)

Opera Philadelphia is gearing up for the East Coast premiere of an epic war drama.

Cold Mountain is based on the award-winning novel by the same name. It then became an Oscar-nominated film and has now made its way to the stage with an operatic production at the Academy of Music.

It's also the first opera score that Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon has ever written. She describes it as a Civil War drama, but also a love story that revolves around a Confederate soldier, injured on the battlefield. "He wants to go back to his love so he goes AWOL and it's the story of his journey back to her."

Higdon says she opted for a score with a "Bluegrass, country, very American" sound, with a clear pulse and melody, "It's not your typical opera but it's definitely an opera with tunes, and it's the kind of opera I think speaks to people."

Some of operas most celebrated singers take on the roles of the three main characters in the show. "All three of these people actually sing at the Met," says Higdon, "we've got really excellent singers."

The show also includes some intense theatrical elements, "we have like 81 gunshots in this opera; It's pretty dramatic. It's definitely not going to be the kind of opera that anyone can sleep through," Higdon jokes.

The show first debuted to sold-out audiences at the Santa Fe Opera, and Higdon says she expects a similar response in Philadelphia.

"Come down because it's a show you're going to really love. I guarantee you'll have a good time."

Cold Mountain is at the Academy of Music, February 5-14.

For tickets and show times, go to www.TheArtsinPhilly.org.

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