The Music Academy of the West recognizes the value of collaboration and invests in the community this summer with a pair of programs that involve the Santa Barbara Public Libraries, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and Chaucer’s Books. The efforts are designed to enhance the music experiences offered by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Voyager Family Concert at The Granada Theatre on Friday, July 12, and the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain, also at the Granada on Friday and Sunday, August 2 and 4.
Although the events scheduled for those interested in learning more about Cold Mountain are already underway, there’s still plenty of time to get involved. On Tuesday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m., the Central Library Book Club will discuss the novel by Charles Frazier on which the opera is based. It’s a sprawling and beautifully observed story of the Civil War that parallels Homer’s Odyssey. Inman is a wounded Confederate soldier who deserts from the hospital to rejoin his beloved Ada, who has troubles of her own managing the large farm left to her by her deceased father. To take readers further into the tale’s context, the library offers a slide lecture on American art of the 19th century on Thursday, July 11, and will screen the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, also based on the Odyssey, on Friday, July 12, at 1 p.m.
All of this and more will propel participants into what is sure to be an intensely rewarding encounter with the Pulitzer Prize–winning composer-in-residence Higdon, who will be on hand for an entire week celebrating her music from August 2 through August 10.