Tales of the gold rush bring to mind the world of film rather than opera. However, in 1910, Giacomo Puccini composed a work set in California precisely at that time. Saloon owner Minnie, sheriff Jack Rance and wanted bandit Ramerrez posing as Dick Johnson are the protagonists of this story, which includes all the typical features of a western: a girl on a speeding horse, guns, drops of blood falling from the ceiling and a game of poker that decides about life and death. This is a rare example of a Puccini opera with a happy ending. Its premiere at the Met (Puccini composed the piece on commission from the New York stage) was met with such interest that the management introduced a strict one-ticket-per-person policy.
conductor: Marco Armiliato
production: Giancarlo Del Monaco
set & costume designer: Michael Scott
lighting designer: Gil Wechsler
cast: Eva-Maria Westbroek as Minnie, Jonas Kaufmann as Dick Johnson (Ramerrez), Carlo Bosi as Nick, Željko Lučić as Jack Rance, Michael Todd Simpson as Sonora, Matthew Rose as Ashby, Oren Gradus as Jake Wallas