The Girl of the Golden West

Giacomo Puccini

16 Feb–26 Mar 2021

This event has been postponed


Please note this event has been postponed to a future season. We will contact all ticket bookers as soon as possible to arrange refunds. Thank you for your patience and support at this difficult time. Find out more


A gun-toting story of true love and second chances

Set against the backdrop of the tough life of a gold-mining community on the American frontier during the California Gold Rush, this opera has been called the original Spaghetti Western. It boasts what is perhaps Puccini’s most innovative score, and surely his richest orchestrally.

His peerless melodic gift and capacity for creating local colour is a perfect match for this tale of a love triangle involving Dick Johnson, aka the bandit Ramerrez, Sheriff Jack Rance and Minnie, the Girl of the Golden West (‘La fanciulla del West’) who runs the Polka saloon. Antony Hermus, who conducted electrifying performances of Tosca in 2018, conducts Aletta Collins’ widely admired production.

“right on target… brilliantly directed and beautifully sung.”
★★★★★ — The Independent (2014)

“…strikes Puccini gold and deserves a rush to see it.”
★★★★ — The Observer (2014)


£15 to £77.50*
  • Leeds Grand Theatre
  • Theatre Royal, Nottingham
  • The Lowry, Salford Quays
  • Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes

Sung in Italian with English titles

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*Prices vary by venue. Booking fees may apply.

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Inside the Polka saloon 

After a day’s work, a group of Gold Rush miners enter the Polka saloonowned by a young woman named Minnie. 

Agent Ashby reveals that he is chasing the bandit Ramerrez and his gang. Sheriff Rance toasts Minnie as his future wife, which makes another man jealous. The two fight and are interrupted by Minnie, standing at the bar with a rifle. 

Minnie rejects the Sheriff, as she is waiting for the right man. 

A stranger enters the saloon and introduces himself as Dick Johnson. Minnie dances with Dick; the Sheriff watches angrily. 

Ashby returns with a captured Ramerrez gang member; upon seeing Johnson at the bar, he leads the agent on a wild goose chase to find Ramerrez. 

Minnie and Johnson confess their love for one another. Johnson promises he will return. 

Minnie’s home 

Johnson enters Minnie’s cabin, the couple kiss and talk about their lives. Hearing a noise outside, Johnson hides. A posse enters looking for Ramerrez. They reveal to Minnie that Johnson is the bandit himself! 

Minnie orders him to leave. After he leaves, she hears him being shot at outside. She quickly ushers him into the house and hides him in the loft. 

Sherriff Rance finds him in the house. Minnie desperately tries to stop him from taking him away by challenging Rance to a game of poker. If she beats him, he must let Johnson go free; if she loses, she will marry him. Minnie cheats at the game with hidden cards and wins. 

The Great Californian Forest 

Johnson has been captured by Rance after being on the run for some time. Johnson accepts his fate and asks him not to tell Minnie that he will be executed.  

Minnie arrives, armed with a gun, and intervenes just before the execution by throwing her body in front of Johnson’s. 

Minnie pleads with Rance and his men not to kill the man she loves, as each one of them already owes her too much. One by one the men yield, even Rance. 

Johnson is set free. Minnie and Johnson leave to start a new life. 


Magdalena Molendowska


Eric Greene

Jack Rance

Rafael Rojas

Dick Johnson (Ramerrez)

Paul Nilon


Creative team

Antony Hermus


Aletta Collins


Giles Cadle

Set Designer

Gabrielle Dalton

Costume Designer

Andreas Fuchs

Lighting Designer

The Girl of the Golden West

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