Set in the Californian Gold Rush and described by Puccini as his “finest score”, La fanciulla del West was completed in 1910, based on David Belasco’s 1905 play, The Girl of the Golden West — which Puccini saw during a 1907 New York trip for the Met premieres of Madama Butterfly (his previous opera) and Manon Lescaut. Its love triangle is between the bandit Ramerrez disguised as Dick Johnson, chaste saloon-owner Minnie who falls in love with Johnson in ignorance of his real identity, and sheriff Jack Rance, who wants both Minnie and the bounty on Ramerrez’s head. After discovering Ramerrez’s identity, Minnie ends up saving his life twice: through beating Rance at Poker; then, when the miners capture Ramerrez and prepare to hang him (scene of his emotionally charged aria, ‘Ch’ella mi creda libero’, begging them not to tell Minnie how he died), by arriving and pleading to them for her happiness.
with the generous support of
Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet