Johnson, Dick

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(Puccini: La fanciulla del West). Ten. A bandit known as Ramerrez. He is being hunted by the sheriff, Jack Rance. An old girlfriend of Johnson has provided Rance with a photograph to prove his identity. Johnson arrives at the inn owned by Minnie and is welcomed by her and when the sheriff tries to question Johnson, Minnie vouches for his identity. She invites him to join her in her cabin for a meal later that evening. They eat and talk about their life and soon declare their love for each other. As it is snowing, Minnie suggests he stays the night. When the sheriff calls to warn her of the dangerous bandit who is in the area, she hides Johnson behind the curtains. Having seen the picture of ‘Ramerrez’, she orders Johnson to leave. He admits that initially he came to rob her, but now he has fallen in love with her and wants to lead an honest life. He rushes out of her cabin and is immediately shot by the sheriff's men. Minnie pulls him back into her room and helps him up a ladder into her loft. Rance again calls, but finding nothing is about to leave when blood drips from the loft above, revealing Johnson's hiding‐place. Minnie coaxes Rance to a game of poker, the winner will decide Johnson's fate. By cheating, she wins and Rance leaves, but the sheriff tells his men where to find the bandit and they capture him. They are about to hang him when again Minnie intervenes and, out of their love and respect for her, they allow Johnson his freedom. He and Minnie leave together to find a new life. Arias: Oh, non temete…(‘Oh, never fear…’); Sono un dannato! Io so, Io so! (‘I'm a scoundrel! I know, I know!’); Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano (‘Let her think I'm free and far away’). Another of Puccini's great tenor roles, sung by all the greatest Italianate tenors since its creation. Created (1910) by Enrico Caruso.

Subjects: Opera.

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