The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West), Puccini's oft-forgotten opera that's being billed as "the original Spaghetti Western," has a few more performances at the War Memorial Opera House, and suffice it to say it's real swell. It's great to see diva Deborah Voigt wearing a red leather cowgirl getup, astride a real live (!) horse, and whipping a bunch of sex-starved miners into shape at a bar called the Polka.
Puccini adapted the story from American playwright David Belasco's play from the turn of the last century (Belasco also wrote the play that Madame Butterfly was based on) which was titled The Girl of the Golden West.
But today we bring you a brief side-by-side comparison of something that music and musical theater nerds have known for a long time: Andrew Lloyd Webber was rumored to have blatantly (and allegedly, of course) stolen several famous musical phrases from the opera for pieces of Phantom of the Opera. After the musical became a hit, the Puccini estate sued Webber and the suit was settled out of court, the details never to be made public. Listen to one example below.