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  1. Tony and Maria share an embrace next to Sydney Opera House
    Photograph: Supplied/ Daniel Boud
  2. West Side Story performed on Sydney Harbour
    Photograph: Supplied/ Daniel Boud

Opera Australia’s bringing West Side Story back to its spectacular outdoor Sydney Harbour stage

The best view in Sydney just got a whole lot more interesting

By Saskia Morrison-Thiagu for Time Out in association with Opera Australia

Imagine watching the musical smash hit that is West Side Story, but with the backdrop of the beautiful Sydney Harbour. That’s the genius of Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – you get to enjoy Sydney’s best view while watching thrilling choreography and hearing some of the most spectacular voices in the country. 

Opera Australia first brought the Broadway smash hit musical to Sydney Harbour in 2019, becoming its highest selling production. Now it returns to Sydney in 2024 from Friday, March 22 until Sunday, April 21. 

What makes Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour performances so captivating is the clever use of the mammoth-sized outdoor staging, combined with the fireworks that go off every single night. It’s an electrifying atmosphere that is not to be missed. 

Early arrivals can also enjoy a picturesque sunset on the harbour with a cheeky wine in hand, thanks to the five pop-up bars and restaurants on site. For those that want to make their night extra special with a more premium dining experience, book a package at the HSBC Platinum Club -- a stunning restaurant/bar overlooking Sydney Harbour. 

West Side Story is a modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set in New York City. It tells the story of two warring gangs divided along racial lines (one Anglo-American and one Puerto Rican) and the two star-crossed lovers (Tony and Maria) caught in the crossfire.  

The two leads set to take this Sydney production to new heights are Billy Bourchier (Tony) and Nina Korbe (Maria). Bourchier has appeared in some of Australia’s biggest shows, including tours of Les Misérables and The Book of Mormon. Korbe is an award-winning First Nations soprano and a rising star of Australian opera. 

Opera Australia HOSH 2019 West Side Story
Photograph: Supplied/Hamilton Lund

The iconic musical opened on Broadway in 1957 and was later turned into an award-winning film in 1961. In 2021, West Side Story was reignited once again for a film directed by Steven Spielberg.

The story hasn’t faded due to its contemporary subject matter and the original street slang that writer Leonard Bernstein, the iconic maestro, incorporated. Bernstein's life is so interesting that his lifelong love affair with actress Felicia Montealegre was recently turned into a film starring Bradley Cooper as the Maestro himself.

This showstopping musical extravaganza is going to be huge, with iconic dancing and an incredible orchestra hidden underneath the stage as just some of the many highlights. 

Tickets are available from the website now, starting at $79 plus a booking fee. You can also book four tickets and save up to $200. 

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