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Saturday, June 11, 2016 Permalink

At The Opera, Puccini: La Fanciulla del West, June 11, 2016


La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the West) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini, based on the play The Girl of the Golden West by the American author David Belasco. Fanciulla followed Madama Butterfly, which was also based on a Belasco play. The opera has fewer of the show-stopping highlights that are characteristic of other Puccini works, but is admired for its impressive orchestration and for a score that is more melodically integrated than is typical of his previous work. Fanciulla displays influences from composers Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss, without being in any way imitative. Similarities between the libretto and the work of Richard Wagner have also been found, though some attribute this more to the original plot of the play, and have asserted that the opera remains quintessentially Italian.

The opera had a successful and highly publicised premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 1910. Nevertheless, while Puccini deemed it one of his greatest works, La fanciulla del West has become a less popular opera within the composer's repertoire, drawing a mixed public reception overall. Despite the plot being a source of significant criticism, the majority of academics and musicians agree in calling it a magnum opus, particularly lauding its craftmanship. Conductor Arturo Toscanini called the opera a "great symphonic poem".


Minnie – Carol Neblett

Dick Johnson – Placido Domingo

Sherrif Jack Rance – Sherrill Milnes

Zubin Mehta conducts the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden.

Deutsche Grammophon recording - 1977


Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana, opera Intemezzo BUY Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony; Ondrej Lenard, conductor
Naxos 8550240
Puccini: La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) BUY ROYAL OPERA HOUSE / MEHTA; ROYAL OPERA HOUSE / MEHTA, conductor
Leoncavallo: Pagliacci: Si puo? - Robert Merrill BUY from 10 Top Baritones & Basses 2; composed by Leoncavallo
Mozart: Don Giovanni: Madamina! il catalogo e questo - Geraint Evans BUY from 10 Top Baritones & Basses 2; composed by Mozart
Verdi: Macbeth: Studia il passo... Come dal ciel precipita - Samuel Ramey BUY from 10 Top Baritones & Basses 2; composed by Verdi
Donizetti: Il duca d'Alba: Nei miei superbi gaudi - Leo Nucci BUY from 10 Top Baritones & Basses 2; composed by Donizetti
Verdi: Don Carlos: C'est moi, Carlos!... C'est mon jour supreme - Sherrill Milnes BUY from 10 Top Baritones & Basses 2; composed by Verdi
Verdi: Ernani Aria (live 1983) MET ; James Levine, conductor
Verdi: Macbeth Aria Live 1977 from Macbeth Aria (live 1977); composed by Verdi
Giordano: Andrea Chenier live 1980 from Andrea Chenier Live 1980; composed by Giordano
Puccini: Il Tabarro Live 1967 BUY from Placido Domingo Live Recordings 1967/69; composed by Puccini
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