After a week of rehearsals we all feel as if we really do inhabit a world of miners, card sharks, bandits, and gunslingers. Puccini’s exquisite score moves like quicksilver; its beauties and passions shine with the gold so desperately sought by his ’49ers. John Hoomes, our masterful stage director, clarifies and intensifies as he works, bringing to life THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST’s myriad directions and moods, all painstakingly noted in the score by the composer.
Many of us are doing this production for the first time — myself included. I find I’m incredulous at the modernity of Puccini’s concept for this opera, as you will hear when you come. Real dance hall music in an opera? Cowboy songs? Music like life, which hardly ever pauses to reflect? It’s all in there, plus hours of some of the most ravishing music to issue from the pen of any composer.
It’s thrilling. I listen to the voices of Michelle, Jon, and Franco soar and intertwine, and I am transported by the most shockingly insightful music Puccini ever wrote. The piece moves like a film, with expansive vistas flawlessly painted, intimate thoughts microscopically examined, fights, brawls and raids, love duets, threats of death — all accomplished through lightning quick changes of psychology and focus, fleeter than in any other Puccini opera. Join us, not just for a view of American song and life, but for a revelation of ourselves, brought to us by the composer most adept at showing it.
J. David Jackson