Jeunesse / Wiener Konzerthaus
Although La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the West) has not enjoyed such popularity as other Puccini’s work, such as La bohème or Madama Butterfly, the composer himself considered this opera as one of his greatest achievements, mostly due to its inner connectivity, as well as rich and colourful orchestration, reflecting the influences by Debussy, Stravinsky, and Richard Strauss. The music score was composed in 1910 to a libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini. The opera depicts a hardworking and unpredictable adventurous life of miners from the Cloudy Mountains in California during the times of the "gold rush”. Based on the play The Girl of the Golden West by American author David Belasco, the opera is set in a prosaic environment, and can be considered as an example of Italian verismo, which provided a new dimension of theatrical authenticity within the context of 20th century aestheticism. However, a continuation of typically romantic themes, such as finding one’s true love, which is conveyed in the relationship between Dick Johnson, a miner with a secret bandit name Ramerrez, and a saloon owner, Minnie, suggests that Puccini adjusted the elements of verismo to his unique and expressive style of melodic characterization. The world premiere was a great success at the Metropolitan Opera in December 1910, and the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini proclaimed it to be a "great symphonic poem”, which will be staged again by Opera Maribor after a long pause of more than four decades.