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La fanciulla del West
Sun, 13. June 2021, 18:00

Opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini

California, at the heyday of the Gold Rush: the place of people’s dreams turns out to be an inexorable wasteland, governed by the law of the jungle. Minnie’s bar is the only place where people live in peaceful coexistence. It is revered by gold seekers and fiercely presided over by the gruff Sheriff Rance. But when Minnie falls in love with a stranger who turns out to be the notorious bandit Johnson, the fragile community is turned upside down.

Giacomo Puccini’s works, especially his arias from »La Bohème«, »Tosca« and »Madama Butterfly«, are among the most played operas. »La Fanciulla del West«, by contrast, which was premiered at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1910, stands so much in the shadow of his other operas that it is only being performed at Unter den Linden now for the first time. At first glance, Puccini’s Wild West opera, in which the outcasts of society meet in search of wealth and a stroke of luck, has fewer moments of poetry and melody than most of his operas. On the other hand, he succeeded in creating a portrait of a community full of hardship and shattered dreams. The composer was rightly proud of his score’s refined timbres. Anton von Webern, who was not renowned for his affinity with Italian opera, commented appreciatively: »The score has an entirely original sound. Magnificent. Every beat is surprising. Very special sounds.«