Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

The Met in HD: La Fanciulla del West

On the evening of October 31, we went to see the re-broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La Fanciulla del West, by Giacomo Puccini.

This was the same production (costumes, sets) we had seen before, but with a new cast and conductor.

Based upon a play, The Girl of the Golden West, by David Belasco, who, in the early 1900’s, was the master of Broadway, the story deals with love and desire in a California gold-rush town.

Eva-Maria Westbrook plays Minnie, saloon owner and the only white woman in the mining camp. Pretty much every male in the town professes to be in love with her, ranging from the avuncular guardianship of her business partner, Nick (Carlo Bosi), to the martial ambitions of Sonora (Michael Todd Simpson), to the physical desire of gambler-turned-sheriff Jack Rance (Željko Lučić). Minnie staunchly defends her independence, never even having kissed a man.

This changes when she meets the handsome and dashing “Dick Johnson” (Jonas Kaufman), who is secretly the wanted bandit Ramirez. The tension between Minnie, Jack, and Dick drives the plot, fired by the ongoing manhunt for Ramirez.

We had seen this same production a few years ago, but thought this cast was better, seeing to bring more fire and life to the melodramatic story. All the principals sang beautifully, as did the supporting singers and the chorus. Maestro Marco Armilato led the orchestra flawlessly through what is one of Puccini’s most modernistic and difficult scores.

This was a very nice evening at the opera, and we enjoyed it very much.

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Tags: opera
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