Our annual trip to Santa Fe Opera - and tailgating in the carpark, first, as the mountains start to turn golden. Alice is very accomplished at pouring champagne. But this year may have been the first on record when the opera far, far surpassed the picnic ... Jennifer Higdon's new opera Cold Mountain (based, yes, on the novel), which was beautiful, and moving, and a stirring anti-war piece - one extraordinary somber chorus number near the end, with the ghosts of dead soldiers singing among shadowy trees - with the jagged planks that made up the set looking like the shattered First World War landscapes that Nevinson painted, and thus turning it into a lament for all lost in wars, and all times. The bars of light also made them look like dead Native American warriors shading into the trees, doubling the sense of a haunted land. To be seen - if not in Santa Fe, I gather it's going to be staged in Philly, and then Minneapolis.