West Side Story is Opera Australia’s Sydney harbour production, 2019

Following successful seasons of La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Carmen and La Traviata, Opera Australia will bring a little music theatre to Sydney Harbour with West Side Story confirmed as Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s chosen work for 2019.

Taking one of the most iconic works of the 20th century out of the theatre and onto Opera Australia’s now famous outdoor stage, will see years of planning finally come to fruition says Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini.

“I’ve always loved West Side Story, it’s one of the greatest pieces ever written, and I’ve been wanting to include it in the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour repertoire since we started the program seven years ago”, he said.

“The setting is perfect, with the city skyline in the background, you won’t get a better stage backdrop in the world, and I’ve said from the start, if a piece is right, then we’ll do it, we don’t want to be bound by preconceptions,” said Terracini.

Any purists wishing for an opera-only experience on the Handa Opera stage should rest assured that the tradition of great outdoor spectacles, with the world’s finest singers, musicians, dancers and creative teams, will be continued for this Bernstein masterpiece.

Musical Director Guy Simpson will take the orchestral reins after working with Opera Australia as Musical Supervisor for My Fair Lady and Evita.

American director Francesca Zambello will make her highly anticipated return to the OA’s outdoor stage after her 2012 production of La Traviata, the very first in the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour series, attracted rave reviews.

Zambello will be joined by award winning set designer Brian Thomson (The King and I, Carmen) who will bring his expertise and creative genius back to OA’s outdoor extravaganza after his dazzling designs in Carmen wowed the audiences in previous years.

When the production opens in March 2019 for a limited four week season, it will be almost nine years since the previous Australian tour of West Side Story (starring Handa Opera alumni Julie Lea Goodwin) appeared in Sydney.

No cast have been confirmed at this stage.

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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