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
One of the top guitarists of his generation, Bobby Broom's preferred setting is a small group, while he excels in the demanding trio setting with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins (with Makaya McCraven replacing him on three songs). Upper West Side Story includes nine originals, none of which is likely to become a jazz standard, but all of which are stimulating. "D's Blues" has an engaging hard bop hook that pulls the listener in immediately, while "Upper West Side Story" suggests a walk in Manhattan on a breezy spring day, with an infectious Latin undercurrent.