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Jul 31, 2015 through Aug 2, 2015
Santa Fe Opera Civil War Symposium
New Mexico History Museum

Join the Santa Fe Opera and the New Mexico History Museum for "Echoes from Cold Mountain: The Living Legacy of the American Civil War," a three-day symposium. Highlights include talks on Friday evening by Hampton Sides, Kirk Ellis and Paul Hutton. The opera’s creative team will share their process and work with visitors in a presentation on Saturday from 10 am–noon as a preview for Cold Mountain, premiering at the Santa Fe Opera that night. Closing remarks will be made by author and historian Harold Holzer on Sunday at 10 am, followed by a performance of authentic Civil War-era music by Denver-based musicians Rex Rideout and Mark Gardner.  

Tickets start at $25 and, for the full symposium, are $85. Go to http://www.santafeopera.org/calendar/index.aspx?perfno=7593&mode=3&calmode=1&monthDropDown=2015%3a7&all=on for details.The schedule:

FRIDAY, July 31, 10:30 am-2:30 pm 10:30-11:30 am Opening session with Gary Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War (1998) at the University of Virginia.

11:45 am-12:45 pm Lunch

1-2:30 pm Discussion on "Adapting History" by New Mexican historians: Paul Hutton (UNM History Professor and Executive Director of the Western History Association), Kirk Ellis (writer/co-executive producer of the HBO miniseries John Adams) and Hampton Sides (author of Hellhound on His Trail, Ghost Soldiers, and Blood and Thunder). Moderator: Estevan Rael-Galvez.

SATURDAY, August 1, 11 am-noon Creative Team Panel Discussion Discussion with Cold Mountain author Charles R. Frazier; composer Jennifer Higdon; librettist Gene Scheer; and the creative team, including director Leonard Foglia; scenic designer Robert Brill; costume designer David C. Woolard; video designer Elaine J. McCarthy; and lighting designer Brian Nason. Glyndebourne dramaturge Cori Ellison will moderate.

The session will examine and unpack the creative choices involved in the story’s transition from novel to opera to stage production.

SUNDAY, August 2, 2-4 pm 2 pm Closing address by Civil War and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer. Holzer will use a variety of objects drawn from the collections of the New Mexico History Museum to narrate the war and distill the conflict that permanently affected the future course of the United States, modeled on his book, The Civil War in 50 Objects.

3 pm Musicians Mark Lee Gardner and Rex Rideout present We Bring the Jubilee!: A Concert of Civil War Songs and Stories.

All sessions take place at the New Mexico History Museum.

To register for the symposium, please click here. For more information on any of these events please contact Andrea Fellows Walters at 505-986-5928.


Hampton Sides is a world-renowned author of nonfiction adventure stories. His works include bestselling histories Ghost Soldiers, Blood and Thunder, Hellhound On His Trail, and, In the Kingdom of Ice. Hampton is an editor for Outside Magazine and a frequent contributor to National Geographic and other magazines. Sides’ Blood and Thunder, about the life and times of controversial frontiersman Kit Carson, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2006 by Time magazine and is currently under development for the screen.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Sides went on to graduate from Yale University and in 2015 was named that year’s Miller Distinguished Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. He is a partner of Atalaya Productions, an independent film company that develops nonfiction and historical stories for the screen. He divides his time between Santa Fe and Colorado College, where he teaches narrative nonfiction and serves as Journalist in Residence.

Kirk Ellis is a well-known writer and producer. The two-time Emmy award winner has also received a Peabody and the Humanitas Prize for work on the HBO miniseries John Adams. The miniseries won a record-breaking 13 Emmys in total, as well as four Golden Globe awards. Previously, Ellis received an Emmy nomination and won the WGA Award and Humanitas Prize for the ABC miniseries Anne Frank, which he wrote and co-produced. Miniseries on which he has served as writer and producer have garnered more than 50 Emmy nominations.

Ellis’ collaboration with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks on the miniseries Into the West brought him the Western Writers of America’s Golden Spur Award for Best Drama Script for the episode Hell on Wheels. He also received the Wrangler Award for Best Television Feature from the National Western Heritage Museum for his work on the miniseries, on which he served as writer and supervising producer. A former co-governor of the writers’ branch of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Ellis served for four years as chairman of the Santa Fe, New Mexico Arts Commission. Recently elected vice-president of the Western Writers of America, he also sits on the advisory board of Richmond, Virginia-based James River Writers.

Professor Paul Hutton earned his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 1981. He has taught courses on U.S. history, the American West, and U.S. military history since joining the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1984. He also offers film classes, which have focused on topics ranging from Western film to war on film. Hutton also instructs graduate seminars, including, “Western Historiography” and “Western Biography.” He has published numerous books and articles on a range of western, military, and popular culture topics. In addition to his academic duties, Hutton has written, appeared in, or narrated over 200 television documentaries on CBS, BBC, NBC, PBS, Discovery, Disney Channel, TBS, TNN, A&E, and the History Channel, and was historical consultant for the films The Missing, Cowboys and Aliens, and Jane Got a Gun. Hutton has also served as the executive director of both the Western History Association and Western Writers of America.

Historian, writer, and musician Mark Lee Gardner, Cascade, Colorado, has been exploring the historic music and instruments of the American West for more than 30 years. His latest CD, Outlaws: Songs of Robbers, Rustlers, and Rogues, received the Wild West History Association’s award for “significant contribution to Wild West History.” Gardner is also a HarperCollins author. His most recent book, the critically acclaimed Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, received three book awards last year, including the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award for best western nonfiction historical book. True West magazine named him “Best Author” in its annual “Best of the West” issue for 2014. He is currently at work on a book on Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, also for HarperCollins.

Rex Rideout sings of the American West, from the times of the early explorers, the fur trade, the Civil War and the cattle-drive era to the end of the 19th century. From Lewis and Clark to Jack Thorp and Badger Clark, he brings to life the music from another time on the instruments from that time. As the proprietor of Time Travel Music, Rideout has performed at countless historic sites and museums across the West playing fiddle, banjo, mandolin and other instruments. His music has been featured on television and radio such as CBS Sunday Morning, museums like the Western American Art collection at the Denver Art Museum, and the soundtracks of three National Park Service visitor center films. He was involved in the Museum of New Mexico’s award-winning book and CD project Jack Thorp’s Songs of the Cowboys. Rideout also plays fiddle in the blockbuster Dreamworks film, Cowboys & Aliens. He lives with his family in the cool high mountain air of Conifer Colorado.


More Info

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