The Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) will be streaming the Metropolitan Opera’s presentation of Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” this Sunday, Jan. 9, at 1 p.m.
The opera premiered in 1910 with the Metropolitan Opera (Met) in New York City. Puccini was commissioned to write the opera for the two leading stars, Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn. It was the first of many world premieres at the Met, and after receiving outstanding praise in the United States went on to tour in Europe.
The opera is based on the play “The Girl of the Golden West” by David Belasco and depicts a mining camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1849-50 during the gold rush.
Presented in Italian in three acts, the story follows the love of a local Native American, and plenty of the action and rough and tumble spirit so prevalent in Wild West narratives.
Indeed, American optimism is shown boldly in the work in contrast to the tragic demeanor adopted by many operas. This hearty, frontier attitude is likely due to the proximity of the wild frontier lifestyle and the hope for the possibilities of the future as America moved into the twentieth century.
In the version streamed at the PAC and presented by the Met, Deborah Voigt and Marcello Giordani sing the lead roles in celebration of the opera’s centennial. This particular production has not been performed by the Met since 1993.
Though a bit of an unusual opera, the work has won a loyal following due to its moving melodic tendencies.
The New York Times praises the music and called it “subtle and boldly modern,” wrapping the audience in rich textures and heartfelt lyrics. In a sense the music gives the audience what it needs and not necessarily what it wants, or is expecting, to hear in any given scene.
The ability for the Met to stream such performances has done a great deal for the opera as well as all those now able to be reached and touched by art. In fact, the presence of such showings at Mercyhurst College make quite a difference to the art programs at the college, as well as providing more accessible fine art for the Erie community.
“La Fanciulla del West” is a sincerely moving, honest and native opera for the Ballet Met and is sure to be spectacular.
Tickets can be purchased at the PAC box office or by calling 814-824-3000. They are $15 for Mercyhurst students with ID.