PICTURE FORMAT: 4:3
LENGTH: 144 MINS
SOUND: DOLBY SURROUND
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.
Puccini’s Wild West opera has the California gold rush as its dramatic backdrop for a story in which Minnie, the only woman in a mining camp, gambles on her one chance of happiness. Lorin Maazel conducts a fine cast in Jonathan Miller’s 1991 production of the compelling and evocative opera, which Puccini himself considered his best work.
“This DVD of La fanciulla del West presents Jonathan Miller's atmospheric production for La Scala, with sets by Stefanos Lazaridis and costumes by Sue Blane. The cast is strong, and Lorin Maazel proves a warmer, more idiomatic Puccinian here than he generally was in his audio recordings for CBS/Sony. His direction makes one marvel afresh at the imagination and colour in this score, distinct from other Puccini operas in its obsession with the whole-tone scale. Miller's production takes the melodrama seriously, with realistic sets and period costumes. It even manages to bring off the improbable scene in Act 2 when Sherriff Rance finds Dick Johnson's blood dripping down from the loft of Minnie's cabin, leading to the game of poker when Minnie blatantly cheats. Though at the end Dick and Minnie get no further than the back of the stage instead of riding off into the sunset, the authentic gulp of emotion is well caught in this rare Puccini happy ending. Plácido Domingo is in superb voice, and wins ovations for each of his big solos. Juan Pons is wonderfully firm and dark of tone as Jack Rance. Though Mara Zampieri as Minnie sings with clear focus and no suspicion of a wobble, the result is often near to hooting – a strong performance, nonetheless. Camerawork is a little fussy but not too distracting. Not only is the documentation fuller than usual in DVD booklets, with a facsimile of the opera-house's cast-list on the back, it also contains a complete (if minuscule) libretto and translation.”
“The Fanciulla del West offers a large contingent of good Italian comprimarii, a marvellous leading lady… competent support from Plácido Domingo and Juan Pons… decent, rather laid-back Jonathan Miller productions.”
“What matters is that the singing cast is strong, and Lorin Maazel's conducting is persuasive...Domingo is in superb voice and rightly wins ovations for each of his big solos...Pons is wonderfully firm and dark of tone as Jack Rance, and Mara Zampieri as Minnie sings with fine, clear focus with no suspicion of a wobble.”
Click here for alternative recordings of this work.