Opera Australia is bringing one of the world’s greatest pieces of theatre, the much loved and admired West Side Story, to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour stage in 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 OA’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.
“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.
West Side Story will continue the tradition of the great outdoor spectacles that have come before it, with the world’s finest singers, musicians, dancers and creative teams set to bring the vision to life.
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.
Francesca will be joined by award-winning set designer Brian Thomson who will bring his expertise and creative genius back to OA’s outdoor extravaganza after his dazzling designs in Carmen wowed audiences in previous years.
Taking the orchestral reins for the first time will be Guy Simpson, one of Australia’s most notable and sought-after conductors.
The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour series has gone from strength to strength, with the annual event now a permanent fixture, and a highlight of the Australian cultural calendar, attracting more than 330,000 attendees from around Australia and across the globe over the past seven years.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the production was secured by the NSW Government and will open in March 2019 for an exclusive four-week season.
“We expect West Side Story to attract around 10,000 overnight visitors to Sydney, generating more than $10 million in visitor expenditure for NSW,” Mr Marshall said.
“I encourage everyone to start planning their visit to see West Side Story performed on Australia’s most famous outdoor stage for the very first time.”
Conductor: Guy Simpson
Director: Francesca Zambello
Set Designer: Brian Thomson
Costume Designer: Jennifer Irwin
Lighting Designer: John Rayment