Nikolaus Lehnhoff's Hollywood-style production updates Belasco's Wild West, perfectly reflecting Puccini's innovatory spirit. In a new angle on the age-old love triangle theme, corrupt Sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo) and charismatic criminal Dick Johnson (Zoran Todorovich) vie for the love of glamorous blonde and devout Christian Minnie (Eva-Maria Westbroek), finding her way in a man's world. Carlo Rizzi's idiomatic conducting draws excellent singing from a large cast and fine playing from the Nederlands Philharmonic Orchestra.
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
Beniamino Gigli was the most popular and successful Italian tenor in the first half of the 20th century. Acclaimed as the second Caruso, he was a great popular favourite both on the operatic stage and the concert platform from his debut in 1914 to his retirement in 1955.
Gigli recorded extensively for HMV (now EMI) and his records were among the company's best sellers for many years.
The Royal Opera is a company based in central London, resident at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Along with the English National Opera, it is one of the two principal opera companies in London. Founded in 1946 as the Covent Garden Opera Company, it was known by that title until 1968. It brought a long annual season and consistent management to a house that had previously hosted short seasons under a series of impresarios. Since its inception, it has shared the Royal Opera House with the dance company now known as The Royal Ballet.