Presented in conjunction with the LA Phil’s performances of John Adams and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the documentary film Land of Gold takes audiences into the rehearsal rooms and behind the scenes of the opera’s premiere production in San Francisco in 2017. The opera presents the untold stories of those who joined the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, drawing from such texts as Mark Twain’s first-hand accounts of the period, journals, newspaper articles, political speeches, and the letters of Louise Smith Clappe under the pen name Dame Shirley. The New York Times wrote, “Girls is an outright rejection of the romantic West of Puccini, of the hubris of Manifest Destiny, of all the rosy myths you’ve heard about the Golden State. It is revisionist – or, rather, corrective – American history, a tale of men turning feral as they swarmed California like an invasive species. In many ways, it is also an opera about the present.” The film Land of Gold captures the process of bringing this corrective to American history to life with insights from Adams and Sellars as well as cast members Julia Bullock, Paul Appleby, and J’Nai Bridges. The screening will be followed by a conversation with composer John Adams and director Jon Else.
The LA Phil Humanities Initiative is generously supported by Linda and David Shaheen.
Presented in collaboration with REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater).