Puccini La fanciulla del West opera to a libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini. Directed 2011 by Giancarlo del Monaco. Stars Deborah Voigt (Minnie), Lucio Gallo (Jack Rance), Marcello Giordani (Dick Johnson or Ramirrez), Tony Stevenson (Nick, the Bartender), Keith Miller (Ashby, the Wells Fargo Agent), Dwayne Croft (Sonora), Hugo Vera (Trin), Trevor Scheunemann (Sid), Richard Bernstein (Bello), Adam Laurence Herskowitz (Harry), Michael Forest (Joe), David Crawford (Happy), Edward Parks (Larkins), Philip Cokorinos (Billy Jackrabit), Ginger Costa-Jackson (Wowkle), Oren Gradus (Jake Wallace), Jeff Mattsey (José Castro), and Edward Mout (Pony Express Rider). Nicola Luisotti conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus (Chorus Master Donald Palumbo). Set and costume design by Michael Scott; lighting design by Gil Wechsler; musical preparation by Gildo di Nunzio, Donna Racik, Steven Eldredge, Joseph Colaneri, Carrie-Anne Matheson, and Milos Repicky; fight direction by B. H. Barry; assistant stage direction by Gregory Keller, Jonathon Loy, Louisa Muller, and Elena Sacconaghi-Marzoni; dramaturgy by Paul Cremo; prompts by Donna Racik. TV Director was Barbara Willis Sweete; Music Producer was Jay David Saks; Supervising Producers were Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park; Producers were Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik. Released in 2012, music was recorded with 48kHz/24-bit sound sampling, and disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound output. Grade: A-
The New York Met was not an early Blu-ray supporter. I think they deemed the high-density optical disc a dinosaur from the start. They placed their bets on electronic distribution of operas to movie houses and to individuals via the Internet.
La fanciulla del West had its world premiere at the Met in 1910 with Puccini in the audience and Toscanini conducting. In 2010, the Met celebrated the centenary of of the premiere by reviving a 1991 production from Giancarlo del Monaco with extemely beautiful traditional sets and costumes. This staging probably follows the original libretto and score as closely as current taste would allow. If you don't know the opera, this is the version to get first. It's easy to follow; after you have seen it several times, you will know the work well. Then you can better enjoy the updated version of La Fanciulla from the Netherlands Opera, which gives you some different things to think about and is a hoot to boot. By the way, Lucio Gallo plays sheriff Jack Rance in both shows. In my mind, Gallo is Jack Rance, and I wonder if I could accept anyone else in the role.