Spaghetti Western

The delicious hybridity of Giacomo Puccini’s La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) offers molto, molto Cal-Ital pleasures; the title only hints at them. California can claim the story: The libretto was adapted (by two Italians) from a play by native San Franciscan David Belasco, and the considerable action — featuring such operatic standbys as sheriffs, bandits, miners, Wells Fargo agents, poker, saloons, and NRA-approved barmaids — all goes down during the Gold Rush. This production’s incarnation of said barmaid is voiced by soprano Deborah Voigt, whose renown is now global in scope but who received her formative training in SF Opera’s own Merola program and then as an Adler Fellow. Italy furnishes the rest: the composer, the language, and tenor Salvatore Licitra and baritone Roberto Frontali, to start with. Then there's music director Nicola Luisotti (who conducts all but the final performance, and is slated to take his baton to New York for the Met’s production this fall), and Fondazione Teatro Massimo di Palermo, SF Opera’s collaborator in this new staging of Puccini’s 100-year-old work. (The distinctly non-Italian, non-Californian Opera Royale de Wallonie, of Belgium, also had a hand in the production.)
June 9-July 2, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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