Something new on Sydney Harbour: West Side Story by Opera Australia

Opera Australia West Side Story HOSH dance

It’s not often Opera Australia strays from the respite of centuries-old, well-loved scores by the likes of Puccini, Bizet and Verdi to try something more contemporary.

Opera Australia West Side Story HOSH Tony singing

But the latest production of West Side Story by Opera Australia that headlines this year’s annual Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour does just that, and has done so well.

Complete with mid-way surprise fireworks as is now customary by the production company, and a range of 40-strong cast that can easily blur the lines between opera singer, dancer and actor, it’s a remade musical that pays homage to the original, the book and the tale; just makes it better.

West Side Story

Directed by Jerome Robbins, the entire production of West Side Story is a shining testament to the classic story that’s given us some of the world’s most memorable show tunes. They were all there in the script.

Think Maria, Tonight, America and Gee Officer Krupke to name a few. All of them just as hilarious as they are telling in the play about the horror to come.

With OA names like Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis as Maria and Tony; Mark Hill and Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva as Riff and Bernardo and Karli Dinardo as Anita, the musical adaptation is done wonders as the story of race hatred and a blossoming romance unfolds to the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Opera Australia’s artistic director, Lyndon Terracini has been wanting to produce West Side Story on the HOSH stage for years. Something about the backdrop and the contemporary interpretations of the reimagined Shakespearean 1597 Romeo & Juliet (what West Side Story is based off) that all come together to give the production a certain something that really sets this year’s production as a must in the Australian production company’s repertoire for 2019.

West Side Story is on the floating stage at Handa Opera on the Harbour, Fleet Steps at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney until 21 April 2019.