Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in Giancarlo Del Monaco’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the girl of the title 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.
Piero Faggioni’s highly acclaimed Royal Opera production of The Girl of the Golden West, filmed in 1983, stars the incomparable Placido Domingo and American soprano Carol Neblett. It is considered by many the definitive production of this work. Faggioni’s amazing production brings the opera vividly to life. The realistic timbered sets are by Oscar-winning designer Ken Adam, whose film work includes Dr Strangelove and a number of James Bond films. Domingo’s heroic portrayal of Don Johnson is one of his most popular and one of his favourite roles. The Bible-bashing, gun-toting Minnie is a very taxing role not tackled by many sopranos. Carol Neblett made it her own with her gloriously rich voice and brilliant performance.
“This attractive and lively production of Puccini's Wild West opera makes the best imaginable case for it, especially the exuberant Barbara Daniels in the title role; while Domingo is at his peak, in 1992, as the nice bandit Dick Johnson.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2005
"West Coast Toast" heralds the arrival of Mitch Kashmar’s long-awaited third studio album from Delta Groove. Although fans had the live recording "Live at Labatt" (2008) and a CD reissue of his early ’80s era LP "100 Miles to Go" (2010) to tide them over, it’s been ten years since his last full studio effort, "Wake Up & Worry" (2006). This time out, Mitch pays tribute to his legacy, tipping his musical hat to the unique sounds of West Coast blues with a program of well-chosen covers mixed in with his own original compositions, all filtered through his own individualistic approach to the blues, and distilled down into the essence of what the blues is today. Along the way, Mitch Kashmar, together with the stellar backing musicianship of Junior Watson (guitar), Fred Kaplan (piano), Bill Stuve (bass) and Marty Dodson (drums), ably proves that the golden era of West Coast blues harmonica isn’t behind us – it’s still happening right now!