San Francisco Opera | Adams and Sellars's Girls of the Golden West

Girls of the Golden West



“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

Sung in English with English supertitles

See a Performance

Running Time

Approximately 3 hours including one intermission.

Who Should See It

Fans of Deadwood, Mark Twain and California history.

Please note this opera contains violence, adult themes and sexual content. Not recommended for children under 13; parental discretion advised.

Found in Series

Full Series: A, D*, G*, J, M, R*
Half Series: C, E*, H, K, O, RBW*, S*, W, X*
Out of Town Series: OT6, OT7, OT8
*Best Value Series

Invite a Friend

Tuesday 11/21/17 7:30PM
Friday 11/24/17 7:30PM
Sunday 11/26/17 2:00PM *
Wednesday 11/29/17 7:30PM
Saturday 12/02/17 7:30PM
Tuesday 12/05/17 7:30PM *
Thursday 12/07/17 7:30PM *
Sunday 12/10/17 2:00PM


Subscribe to get the best seats for the lowest prices. Design your own 3-opera series for as little as $63. Single tickets go on sale June 26. 

Best Value Series: Choose Full Series D, G or R and Half Series E, RBW, S and X for best seating availability at the best prices. 

* OperaVision, HD video projection screens featured in the Balcony level for this performance, is made possible by the Koret/Taube Media Suite.

Pre-Opera Talks

Free to Ticketholders 

For every performance, join us in the Orchestra section 55 minutes prior to curtain.

The Expert: Clifford Cranna

Learn about the opera’s music, characters, composer and historical background.


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

Read Complete Synopsis ›


John Adams is "one of our most important contemporary voices."

The Guardian

"Peter Sellars has created a body of work that will transcend epoch and place, style and fad."

Opera News

“Previous Adams-Sellars collaborations have amounted to some of the most acclaimed new operas to have premiered in the past thirty years.”

Opera News

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.




September 8–30 and November 18–December 9



September 9–27



November 4–22

Made Possible By

John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn; Jane Bernstein and Bob Ellis; Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, through the Emerging Stars Fund; and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

     Art Works | National Endowment for the Arts

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Give to our Spring Challenge! Thanks to Ann and Gordon Getty, longtime friends of the Company, all new and increased gifts of $75 or more received by July 31 will be matched. New gifts will be matched two-to-one, while increased gifts will be matched dollar for dollar! Learn more.

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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