The Girl of the Golden West

0623 w500When the Metropolitan Opera premiered Puccini’s opera The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) in 1910, the audience began lining up 5 hours before show time. Arturo Toscanini conducted, Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn sang, Puccini attended, and there were 55 curtain calls! This drama of the gold-mining 1850’s West, with its tough, armed, and independent soprano star, is one of Puccini’s most innovative scores and took the American opera world by storm.0428 w500


At the Eugene premiere in March 2014, Eugene Opera “unveiled a rarely performed opera by Giacomo Puccini, ‘The Girl of the Golden West,’ and with minimalist sets, a group of fine soloists and some solid stage direction, it produced a hit.” “Soprano Emily Pulley filled the Hult with her ringing voice. Her intense acting became the center of the production.” “Raul Melo made a splendid vocal impression.” “This production sets a gold standard for Eugene Opera’s future efforts.” (The Register-Guard)

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In the six weeks leading up to the opera, the Eugene area celebrated “Strong Women of the Gold Rush Era” through a series of exhibits, films, and presentations. Lane County Historical Society, the Eugene Public Library, White Lotus Gallery, Bijou Metro, the Wells Fargo History Museum, faculty of the University of Oregon, and others joined Eugene Opera in this exploration and celebration of often-overlooked aspects of the gold rush era.

Images by Cliff Coles

The Girl of the Golden West

March 14 & 16, 2014
Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center for the Performing Arts

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini
Based on the play (1905) of the same name by David Belasco
Opera first performed at The Metropolitan Opera, December 10, 1910

Minnie — Emily Pulley
Jack Rance, sheriff — Aaron St. Clair Nicholson
Dick Johnson (Ramerrez) — Raul Melo
Ashby, Wells Fargo Agent — Bill Hulings
Sonora, a Miner — Jonathan Christopher
Trin, a Miner — Riley Forrest
Sid, a Miner — Sandy Naishtat
Handsome, a Miner — Marco Valerio
Harry, a Miner — John Coons
Joe, a Miner — Scott Carroll
Happy, a Miner — Timothy McCoy
Larkens, a Miner — Philip Engdahl
Billy Jackrabbit, a Native American — Joseph Bonnevie
Wowkle, his wife — Lina Delmastro
Jake Wallace, a traveling camp-minstrel — Harry Baechtel
José Castro, a “greaser,” from Ramerrez’s gang — Isaac Noel
A Pony Express Rider — Matt Blumenstein
Men of the Camp: Ryan Chartrey, Colin Corbett, Matthew T. Leach, Roy Lisi, Bernard Robe, Randall Smith, Ramsey Tainton, Tom Talaba, Reggie Tonry, Cameron Walker, Benjamin Wefler, Greg Widdicombe

The Eugene Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor — Andrew Bisantz
Stage Director — David Lefkowich
Chorus Master — Dr. John Jantzi
Stage Manager — Kristin Neckels
Costume Director — Jeannette de Jong
Lighting Designer — Michael Peterson
Makeup and Hair Designer — Sarah Clifford
Technical Director — Alex Fontain

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