Anyone interested in buying Puccini operas on DVD should look no further than this disc of 'La Fanciulla del West'.
The DVD quality is excellent and I had no hesitation in discarding my old video version. The production is superb: set design, costuming, and direction are all spot on. In Domingo, we have a genuine star in his absolute prime, nothing less than perfect as Dick Johnson. Carol Neblett really does look the part as Minnie and copes admirably with the very difficult passages towards the end of Act 1 and her acting and singing in the climax of Act 2 could scarcely be bettered. But in many ways, the real stars are the Covent Garden company, with Bob Lloyd, Gwynne Howell, and Francis Egerton delightful in the minor roles.
It's a real shame that there aren't more live performances of 'La Fanciulla del West', because it really does prove Puccini's mastery of dramatic musical theatre. The score is full of little musical gems and you really do see something new in this production each time you watch it. Thanks to this DVD, we can enjoy the definitive performance of this work over and over again. Take a chance and buy without hesitation - you won't be disappointed.