Set in the American West during the California Gold Rush, La fanciulla del West
marked a significant departure from Giacomo Puccini's previous and best- known works. Puccini and the Girl
is the first book to explore this important but often misunderstood opera that became the earliest work by a major European composer to receive an American premiere when it opened at New York's Metropolitan Opera House in 1910.
Adapted from American playwright David Belasco's Broadway production, The Girl of the Golden West, Fanciulla was Puccini's most consciously modern work, and its Met debut received mixed reviews. Annie J. Randall and Rosalind Gray Davis base their account of its creation on previously unknown letters from Puccini to his main librettist, Carlo Zangarini. They mine musical materials, newspaper accounts, and rare photographs and illustrations to tell the full story of this controversial opera. Puccini and the Girl considers the production and reception of Puccini's "cowboy" opera in the light of contemporary criticism, providing both fascinating insight into its history and a look to the future as its centenary approaches.
“Engrossing. . . . An eminently readable, ideally direct and information-packed book.”—William Fregosi, Opera Today