Cold Hands (2014-2015)

a Co-Opera collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh Opera
Awarded 2nd Place for the 2016 American Prize in Composition—Opera, Theater, Film—Student Division


19 minutes


Soprano, Baritone, Flute, Alto Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Tuba, Percussion, and String Quartet

First Performance

April 10, 2015 at Pittsburgh Opera
Composer: Dayton Kinney
Dan Giles and Julie Jigour
Katelyn MacIntyre
Scott Cuva
Daniel Curtis
Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble
Alex Tobey
Backdrop Designer:
Doug Bernstein

Program Notes

Cold Hands is a collaboration between librettists, Dan Giles and Julie Jigour, and composer, Dayton Kinney for the new pioneered project Co-Opera with the Pittsburgh Opera Company. A sweet story of two people sharing a moment. Through champagne and a first date, the opera is an interaction between a lonely mortician and a woman, who has just died. As she reflects on her life, he learns something about his own.

Juxtaposed musical themes highlight the opera’s dark humor and showcase the touchingly sweet revelations. As Carl and Anna borrow, change, and present each other’s themes and music, the opera presents an underlying allegory about male and female gender politics and relationships.