• La Fanciulla del West Educator Guide

What to Expect from La Fanciulla del West

Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (“The Girl of the Golden West”), first heard a century ago, is set in the American West during the California Gold Rush. Peopled with ruthless bandits, rough-talking but goodhearted miners, a cynical sheriff, and one remarkable female tavern-keeper, it tells a story of love, money, justice, and forgiveness that is as thrilling as any Western movie, wrapped in an unmistakably Italian score. You could even call it the world’s first “spaghetti Western.”

The www.fanciulla100.org website celebrates the 100th anniversary of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at the Metropolitan Opera.

  • Classroom Activity

    A full-length activity, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.
  • Musical Highlights

    Three "Musical Highlights" designed to focus on bits of music from La Fanciulla del West to cultivate familiarity with the work.
  • Performance Activities

    Performance Activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.
  • Post-Show Discussion

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts and humanities.

La Fanciulla del West at the Met

Not only did Puccini set this riproaring tale in the United States, he also launched it right here at the Metropolitan Opera, in December 1910. The Met’s centennial revival of La Fanciulla del West features soprano Deborah Voigt as the rifle-wielding, Bible-teaching title character, Minnie. Tenor Marcello Giordani (who played the prototypical “ugly American,” Pinkerton, in the 2008 Live in HD transmission of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly) now takes on the role of a man who calls himself “Johnson from Sacramento”—in fact, he’s a Mexican bandit named Ramerrez.

La Fanciulla del West provides students with the rare opportunity to explore a classic opera that focuses on familiar and quintessentially American characters and settings. The activities in this guide build on that familiarity to explore the creative choices made by Puccini, his collaborators, and the artists of the Met. By heightening awareness of narrative and theatrical elements and, above all, of Puccini’s music, the guide can help you spark young people’s fascination with this amazing work in a dazzling Metropolitan Opera Live in HD production.