Minnie, the titular "Girl of the Golden West" is saloon-keeper, nurse, and Bible school teacher to a camp of miners during the California Gold Rush. When the mysterious Mr. Johnson arrives,... See full summary »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Voigt ...
Minnie
Marcello Giordani ...
Lucio Gallo ...
Jack Lance
Michael Forest ...
Joe
Richard Bernstein ...
Handsome
Adam Laurence Herskowitz ...
Harry
David Crawford ...
Happy
Trevor Scheunemann ...
Sid
Dwayne Croft ...
Sonora
Hugo Vera ...
Trin
Edward Parks ...
Tony Stevenson ...
Nick
Oren Gradus ...
Keith Miller ...
Ashby
Edward Mout ...
Post Rider
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Minnie, the titular "Girl of the Golden West" is saloon-keeper, nurse, and Bible school teacher to a camp of miners during the California Gold Rush. When the mysterious Mr. Johnson arrives, the miners suspicions (and jealousies) are roused. Written by dnitzer

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classical | See All (1) »

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Release Date:

8 January 2011 (USA)  »

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Fun with Dick and Minnie
28 May 2012 | by (Birmingham, England) – See all my reviews

After the success of Madama Butterfly, Puccini wrote La Fanciulla del West, also based on a play by David Belasco. It would appear that Belasco knew as much about the wild west as he did about Japan ie zilch. I know operas are supposed to have silly plots but the colloquial language and realistic setting of La Fanciulla suggests that Puccini was trying to achieve some sort of verismo. What are we to make of a woman who works in a saloon in a gold rush town who fends of the miners attentions and claims that she has never been kissed? What are we to make of her leading the miners in a bible class in the saloon bar?

This is the only Puccini opera that contains no memorable tunes. The ensemble playing of the miners in Act I perhaps foreshadows Gianni Schicchi, possibly suggesting that Puccini is trying to achieve a more mature style. On the whole though, this opera has to be counted as a failed experiment with Puccini returning to his more tuneful style in his last three operas

Both Marcello Giordani and Deborah Voight as Dick Johnson and Minnie turn in lacklustre performances. The great Wagnerian Deborah Voight seems a surprising choice to sing Minnie and she does look and sound uncomfortable. The real novelty of this opera is the happy ending. Neither the hero nor the heroine dies and Dick and Minnie walk of together into the sunset. I suppose the Met had do this opera in recognition of the 100 years since its premiere there. One might hope that they will not revive it too often in the next hundred years.


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