07 Dec 2010

Puccini’s Western Seeks Lyrical Gold


By Anthony Tommasini [NY Times, 7 December 2010]

One hundred years ago this Friday, Puccini’s “Fanciulla del West,” adapted from David Belasco’s play “The Girl of the Golden West” and set in a California mining camp during the gold rush, had its glittery premiere production at the old Metropolitan Opera. Toscanini was in the pit; Enrico Caruso, Emmy Destinn and Pasquale Amato sang the leads; and Puccini, alone in his box, surveyed the scene. That is, until the end of Act I, when the composer and cast appeared on stage for 14 curtain calls. Similar pandemonium broke out at the end of the other two acts.