Girls of the Golden West educator materials

“You have no idea of this wild and barbarous life.” –Dame Shirley

Sourced from historical writings, this world premiere opera follows remarkable characters who flock to Gold Country hoping to strike it rich but are quickly caught up in the optimism, greed and prejudices of a rapidly changing world.

Music by John Adams | Libretto by Peter Sellars, drawn from original sources


Cultures and personalities collide in the crucible of the California Gold Rush.

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Cast & Creative

Dame Shirley Julia Bullock *
Ned Peters Davóne Tines *
Josefa Segovia J'Nai Bridges
Clarence King Ryan McKinny *
Joe Cannon Paul Appleby
Ah Sing Hye Jung Lee
Ramón Elliot Madore
Lola Montez Lorena Feijoo


November 21, 24, 26, 29; December 2, 5, 7, 10, 2017

Composer John Adams
Librettist/Director Peter Sellars
Conductor Grant Gershon *
Set Designer David Gropman *
Costume Designer Rita Ryack *
Lighting Designer James F. Ingalls
Sound Designer Mark Grey
Chorus Director Ian Robertson
Choreographer John Heginbotham *

* San Francisco Opera debut

World premiere production

Co-commissioned and co-produced with The Dallas Opera and Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam. Girls of the Golden West is presented by arrangement with Hendon Music, Inc., a Boosey & Hawkes company, publisher, and copyright owner.

Photo (top): M.& N. Hanhart Chromo Lith, and Frank Marryat. San Francisco / S.F. Marryat, delt. [London: M.& N. Hanhart Chromo Lith. impt., ?, ca. 1850] Image. Library of Congress, item# 92522389