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.

Best Value Dates

Wednesday, November 29
Tuesday, December 5

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.

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. 

Behind the Scenes

Backstage with Matthew: Scaling the Sierra

Our scenic facility in Burlingame is focusing months ahead as they build the new production of John Adams’ thrilling new opera, Girls of the Golden West.

Read More

Backstage with Matthew: Dressing for Gold

Designer Rita Ryack joined us in the costume shop, meeting to finalize designs and choose fabrics for the incredible period costumes that will be featured on stage.

Read More


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.

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.




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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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