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Al­ready be­fore the opera Cold Moun­tain was un­veiled in its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera last Au­gust, in­ter­est was run­ning so high that the com­pany ar­ranged to have live per­for­mances recorded for com­mer­cial re­lease on CD. The record­ing has now come to fruition in the form of a hand­some two-CD box set be­ing is­sued this month on the Pen­ta­tone la­bel, with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing book­let that in­cludes the com­plete li­bretto il­lus­trated by 13 pro­duc­tion photos in­serted at rel­e­vant junc­tures. A Dutch record­ing firm founded 15 years ago, Pen­ta­tone spe­cial­izes in pro­duc­ing record­ings with mul­tichan­nel sur­round sound, an au­dio­phile for­mat that is also playable on “nor­mal” home-en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems. The la­bel is just now em­bark­ing on what it calls the “Pen­ta­tone Amer­i­can Op­eras” se­ries, which will spot­light con­tem­po­rary op­eras by Amer­i­can com­posers. Cold Moun­tain, by com­poser Jen­nifer Hig­don and li­bret­tist Gene Scheer (af­ter Charles Fra­zier’s novel), is one of three re­leases that launch that in­cen­tive, the oth­ers be­ing The Ghosts of Ver­sailles (mu­sic by John Corigliano, li­bretto by Wil­liam M. Hoff­man; recorded at LA Opera in Fe­bru­ary 2015) and The Can­ter­ville Ghost (mu­sic and li­bretto by Gor­don Getty, af­ter Os­car Wilde’s tale; recorded at the Leipzig Opera in May 2015). This is the third record­ing to doc­u­ment a Santa Fe Opera pro­duc­tion, an ex­er­cise that has come about ev­ery 20 years. Cold Moun­tain was pre­ceded by Santa Fe Opera record­ings of Vir­gil Thom­son’s The

Mother of Us All (on New World Records) from 1976, the com­pany’s 20th sea­son, and To­bias Picker’s Em­me­line (on the Al­bany la­bel), recorded dur­ing the com­pany’s 40th sea­son, in 1996. Mirac­u­lously, both of those re­main in print in CD for­mat.

Dur­ing this up­com­ing 60th sea­son, by the way, Santa Fe Opera will honor its his­tory on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 by host­ing “Come Home to Santa Fe,” a re­union of em­ploy­ees, tech­ni­cians, artists, and ap­pren­tices who have been as­so­ci­ated with the com­pany over the years. It could be quite a crowd. In­ter­ested par­ties can check in with the plans at­pany/the-santa-fe-opera.

Fi­nan­cial hard­ship has forced changes upon the Santa Fe Tra­di­tional and Blue­grass Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, which for about a decade was held ev­ery Au­gust at the Santa Fe County Fair­grounds. Though the fes­ti­val is well at­tended by mu­si­cians and mu­sic lovers, or­ga­niz­ers have never turned a profit and for sev­eral years have been op­er­at­ing in the red be­cause of a com­bi­na­tion of eco­nomic forces, in­clud­ing the loss of a ma­jor re­cur­ring pri­vate do­na­tion and the im­pos­si­bil­ity of sell­ing enough tick­ets to re­coup the ba­sic costs of pro­duc­ing the three-day fes­ti­val — about $13,500 in to­tal, which ac­counts for every­thing from rent­ing the fair­grounds to con­trol­ling the flies that plague the din­ing area. “To break even, we’d have to have 800 peo­ple seated for each evening con­cert, and the venue only holds 550 chairs,” Bob Dodge, pres­i­dent of the host or­ga­ni­za­tion, the South­west Tra­di­tional and Blue­grass Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion, told Pasatiempo. As the as­so­ci­a­tion looks for new ac­com­mo­da­tions, a one-day fes­ti­val is planned for Satur­day, Aug. 27, at the 140-acre Wildlife West Na­ture Park in Edge­wood, for a rental cost of just $500. Dodge em­pha­sized that Edge­wood is still in Santa Fe County so the fes­ti­val hasn’t been moved too far away, and fes­ti­val-go­ers are wel­come to camp there for the en­tire week­end.

Deb­o­rah Nansteel and Nathan Gunn in Santa Fe Opera’s Cold Moun­tain; inset, Isabel Leonard and Gunn

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