Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Puccini’s gun-slinging heroine in this romantic epic of the Wild West, with the heralded return of tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the role of the outlaw she loves.
The opera unfolds in the mountains of California during the Gold Rush in 1849–50. The anachronistic presence of a Pony Express rider and a Wells Fargo agent would indicate a date after 1860, but historical accuracy is not the goal in this tale. Puccini was enchanted with Belasco’s fictional setting, with its combination of mythic and grittily realistic elements. With his international stature assured, Puccini explored new musical horizons in Fanciulla: There are few arias (the tenor’s Act III Ch’ella mi creda being a standout exception), and most of the music relies on changes of tone and colour instead of set pieces. The orchestral sweep, appropriate to the dramatic landscape of the California mountains, is apparent in the first bars of the brief, explosive prelude. As in Tosca and Madama Butterfly, local musical elements are depicted for colour, albeit sparingly. The score is marked by a preponderance of male voices, reflecting the title heroine’s isolation in an almost all-male world.
USA 2018, 213 min, rated PG (low level violence)
(includes two 40 min intermissions)
Live performance opera
Conductor: Marco Armiliato
Vocal cast: Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann, Carlo Bosi, Yeljko Lucic & Michael Todd
The Metropolitan Opera changed the face of theatergoing nearly a decade ago with high-definition simulcasts in movie theaters using a technology associated more with rock concerts and boxing matches than opera. We are very lucky at Arthur’s to be able to offer this sensational bit of culture, art and entertainment to you.