The Ópera de Bellas Artes presents La fanciulla del West, the fifth title of its 2019 season

La fanciulla del West – Ópera de Bellas Artes © Carlos Alvar

With the staging of Sergio Vela and the musical direction of Marcelo Mottadelli, The fanciulla del West arrives at the main hall of the Palace of Fine Arts of Mexico September 26 to October 6.


The Ministry of Culture, through the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, presents La fanciulla del West, opera in three acts with music by Giacomo Puccini (1854-1924), with an Italian libretto by Guelfo Civini (1873-1954) and Carlo Zangarini (1874-1943), based on the play by David Belasco (1853-1931) The Girl of the Golden West, on September 26 and October 1, 3 and 6, in the Main Hall of the Palacio de Bellas Artes of Mexico.

In charge of the Ópera de Bellas Artes, this title will be replaced after its season was suspended due to the earthquake that hit Mexico City in September 2017. Its argument occurs in the western United States, in the La Canteen Polka where love is born between Minnie, the owner of the room, and the bandit Ramírez, to change her destiny.

The staging, scenography and lighting are by Sergio Vela, who is accompanied by the original creative team, among whom are Violeta Rojas, in the costume design; Ilka Monforte in the design of makeup and hairstyles, and Ruby Tagle in the direction of movement.

The cast of this replacement includes the American soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs, in the leading role of Minnie; to Moldovan bass-baritone Roman Ialcic in the role of sheriff Jack Rance and Mexican tenor Diego Torre incarnating Ramírez. In addition, a group of Mexican soloists, young talents and others with an outstanding career on the stage participate, namely: Ángel Ruz, Dante Alcalá, Enrique Ángeles, Andrés Carrillo and Alberto Albarrán, Daniel Cerón, Carlos Arámbula, Édgar Gil, Carlos Santos, Óscar Velázquez, Ángel Macías, Emilio Carsi, Antonio Azpiri, Vanessa Jara and Rodrigo Petate. With the presence of the Orchestra and Choir of the Theater of Fine Arts, the latter directed by Stefano Ragusini, and all of them under the baton of the Italian Marcello Mottadelli.

La fanciulla del West – Ópera de Bellas Artes © Carlos Alvar

The soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs (Minnie) pointed out that it is a very important character and different from those she has played, since normally her roles are from high society people, dramatic or rubbing in madness, but Minnie is a more real character, that the same shoots and rides a horse that is romantic and feminine.

The interpreter, who has participated in Turandot, Salome, Tosca and La traviata, explained that their work in La fanciulla del West is complicated from the stage and musical perspective, because it has to sing solidly with complicated and beautiful music, move a lot on stage and change clothes quickly.

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For his part, Diego Torre (Dick Johnson-Ramírez) explained that the technical and vocal demands of his character are quite complex, since he uses advanced rhythms. “A certain volume of voice is required to amalgamate the orchestration that Puccini has written. I have seen which are the most demanding points of music and a song line is required that manages expressions and dynamics.  

“It is a role that is perfect for me at this time in my career; It has not meant great difficulties. Being next to the Ópera de Bellas Artes represents my return with a very special title and it is a great happiness to be part of an atmosphere of fellowship next to great and beautiful voices. ”

At the time, concert director Marcello Mottadelli said that participating in La fanciulla del West next to the Orchestra of the Theater of Fine Arts is a very fortunate event, since it is a group with wonderful musicians. “It is a very complicated opera technically and musically for the orchestra and the choir, because all times are very fast and you have to memorize a lot.

“I’ve been rehearsing with them for two weeks and I see that we have the same feeling. Music helps a lot and can say things that are impossible with words and now being in a space like the Palace of Fine Arts is very important, because it is the cultural heart of the city, ”he added.


About Marcello Mottadelli, concert director

In 2001, he made his US debut directing Turandot de Puccini with the Colorado Opera Company, and debuted in South Africa with Rigoletto de Verdi and Second Symphony Mahler’sat the Cape Town Opera.

In 2002 he was invited to Germany and subsequently to Belarus to continue his work with the Bolshoi Orchestra of Minsk, in Tosca, at the Bolshoi Theater. From 2002 to 2008, he directed, among others, The Poacher and Rigoletto with the Danish Royal Opera, and symphony concerts with orchestras from Denmark, Poland, Italy and Slovakia. During this period he made several appearances with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra both in that city and in Jordan, in a gala concert with Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes. 

The following three years he held the position of general music director of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. During this time, he also debuted in South Korea at the Seongnam Art Center in Seoul, and directed Don Carlo at the Danish Royal Opera in Copenhagen. Other invitations to that country followed, where he directed The Elixir of Love and Manon Lescaut de Donizetti.

His operatic repertoire also includes Aida, La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, La bohème, Otello, Nabucco, Andrea Chénier, TIl trovatore, A Mask Dance, Falstaff, among others. He has directed in theaters of several countries of the world, among which it is possible to mention the Carlo Felice Theater of Genoa, the Verdi Theater of Trieste, the Royal Danish Opera, Massimo Theater of Palermo, Opera pä Skäret of Sweden, Croatian National Theater of Zagreb and Royal Opera of Muscat. He has directed an important number of orchestras, among which the Nuremberg Symphony and the Prague Philharmonic stand out.

He has performed at the Opera pä Skäret Festival in various broadcasts. He has been Artistic director of the National Opera of Bucharest where he premiered various titles, and has collaborated with artists such as Ramón Vargas, Roberto Alagna, Nelly Miricioiu, Sumi Jo and Alexandra Kurzak.

He appeared at the 2011 Nobel Prize gala, where he directed the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm, with tenor Joseph Calleja, in the presence of the laureates and the royal family Swedish. In early 2018 he became the Artistic and Musical Coordinator of the Romanian National Opera of Iasi, a position he held until July of the same year. At the end of 2018 he was invited again by the Royal Opera of Muscat, to direct the concert of the tenor Vittorio Grigolo. In February of this year he debuted with a series of five functions of The Troubadour. At the National Theater of Croatia in Zagreb, he premiered this production, directed by Arnaud Bernard and was appointed director of that theater for the next four years.