After watching David Belasco's play The Girl of the Golden West on his 1907 visit to New York, Puccini resolved to set this somewhat unusual love story of the Wild West to music on the opera stage. The dramatic material proved to be a good choice, with an effectively moving plot that takes viewers to the denouement with a sure hand. The character of Minnie is also a highly suitable addition to Puccini's ranks of heroines: driven by love and passion, she thus has no fear of risking even her own life.
The piece is staged at the Erkel Theatre in a production directed by Vasily Barkhatov, who is regularly engaged to work all over Russia and Europe.
THE CRITICS RESPOND:
“I’ve always felt that what kills this work is having paunchy Caruso-type Western characters with big moustaches and revolvers at their sides being forced to sing, ‘Hello, hello, buona sera, ragazzi.’ (…) This time, however, there is no need to believe this. And what remains is the regular opera set-up: the soprano and tenor are in love with each other, but then along comes the baritone.” (Miklós Fáy, Élet és Irodalom)