Opera House To Screen ‘La Fanciulla Del West’

FREDONIA – The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will screen Giacomo Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” (Girl of the Golden West) as part of its Live at the Met Summer Encore Series of operas on Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We’re very excited to be presenting encore broadcasts of two of the Metropolitan Opera’s most highly acclaimed Live in HD transmissions this summer,” said Rick Davis, Opera House executive director. “These productions offer a way for opera buffs to relive some of the Met’s best-loved productions from the past few seasons. They also provide a great way for people unfamiliar with opera to give the genre a try.”

The opera had its world premiere at the Met in 1910 and was revived on the occasion of its centennial with Deborah Voigt in the title role.

Puccini’s musical vision of the American west is vividly brought to life in the Met’s atmospheric production, with Voigt as Minnie, the “girl of the golden west” and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical Sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game and a snowstorm, “La Fanciulla del West” is Puccini at his most colorful.

The New York Times says the production’s “old-fashioned and painstakingly realistic staging … allows the remarkable score to come through beautifully” and praises Voigt, saying there “is not a soprano who could sing any better this demanding role, which requires luscious legato phrasing, a powerful top range and stamina.” The production also features Tony Stevenson as the bartender Nick, Oren Gradus as the minstrel Jake and Ginger Costa-Jackson as the young Indian mother, Wowkle, the only other woman in the cast. Nicola Luisoti conducts. The production has a running time of two hours, 22 minutes.

Live at the Met live opera broadcasts and Summer Encores screenings are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series. Support for the series also comes from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County.

Tickets to the Live at the Met Summer Encores Series operas are $15 and are available in advance by calling or visiting the Box Office at 679-1891 Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online anytime at www.fredopera.org. This summer’s Met Encore Series also features Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” on Aug. 28.