La Fanciulla del West The Girl of the Golden West is the original spaghetti western. Puccini was confident it would be a success to match La Boheme, but despite the composer's unflagging popularity, Fanciulla never really caught on. This is a shame, really, for despite its lack of hit tunes, the score is among Puccini's most inventive and, for those who find tragic endings too much to bear, the lovers do get to ride off into the sunset together. Maria Zampieri may not be the most feminine Minnie, but then again, Minnie is not the most feminine of Puccini's heroines. Zampieri emphasizes Minnie's brassiness and strength of character over her vulnerability, convincingly demonstrating how a single woman could hold together a ragtag community of unruly gold miners. Placido Domingo is a dashing bandito, radiating suave sex appeal from his first entrance. Juan Pons makes the most of his part as the mercilessly vengeful Sheriff Rance. Although simple in its design, La Scala's production is on a large scale; even Minnie's saloon seems cavernous, like the open landscape of the Wild West itself. Conductor Lorin Maazel elicits burnished yet brawny playing from the Milanese orchestra. The English subtitles are readable, but the disc includes no other on-screen features.