Music: Puccini on the Rocks

A miner stepped up to the local bar, slapped down a silver dollar, and warbled: "Set 'em up for everybody!" Although lovers of Italian opera might wince at the line (more traditionally rendered as "Whisky per tutti"), audiences in Colorado's Red Rocks Theater last week happily lapped it up. Occasion: a Colorado Centennial production of Puccini's The Girl of the Golden West, staged in the natural sandstone Red Rocks amphitheater with all the flamboyance of a wide-screen western.

Casting about for a suitable centennial opera last winter, Denver Symphony Conductor Saul Caston latched on to Puccini's "drama of love and redemption" in...

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