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The Big Apple to make a splash in the Emerald City: West Side Story on Sydney Harbour 2019

November 19, 2018 Events / Whats On No Comments Email Email

A slice of the gritty underbelly of New York City will make a splash on Opera Australia’s famous over-water stage when a brand new production of Leonard Bernstein’s iconic West Side Story opens at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in March 2019.

Visitors to Sydney will have the opportunity to experience one of the greatest musicals of the 20th century in a setting like no other, with the lights of the city, the Sydney Opera House in the background, and the harbour waters lapping at the stage.

Known as a must-see event in Sydney, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has attracted more than 330,000 visitors from around Australia and across the globe over the past seven years. Visitors to Sydney are increasingly being drawn to the unique outdoor experience, which celebrates the best of Sydney with iconic Harbour views, world-class performers and nightly fireworks.

A Brand New Vision for West Side Story 

Acclaimed American director Francesca Zambello will make her highly anticipated return to the outdoor stage after her 2012 production of La Traviata, the first in the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour series, attracted rave reviews. A native of New York City where this famous musical is set, Zambello’s bold vision will ensure that the Big Apple hits the Harbour City with a huge splash.

Also making his return to the harbour stage is award-winning theatrical designer Brian Thomson who will invigorate the production with the spirit of New York, creating a one-of-a-kind set design. Thomson’s design will be dominated by a giant 15 metre tall highway overpass, soaring 30 metres across the length of the stage, to symbolise the gritty underbelly of New York’s urban gang culture. Sophisticated lighting design will create an atmosphere reminiscent of the New York City lights, bringing the full urban splendour of the Empire City to Sydney Harbour.

Hospitality and Dining

In addition to housing an outdoor stage two and a half times larger than any indoor Australian stage, and grandstand seating for approximately 3,000 people, the custom-built site offers an impressive range of themed dining and drinking options that make the most of the magnificent harbour views.

The stunning Platinum Club – a pop up dining room, bar and lounge set amongst the tree tops – offers fine dining before the show, and drinks at interval. Dinner and show packages are available with variable components that include a three-course dinner or tasting buffet, interval drinks, program and performance. The Platinum Club can also be booked privately for groups and corporate entertaining.

And to arrive in style, guests can catch a Water Taxi to the site, which picks up at Man o’ War Steps at the Opera House and drops off at Andrew Boy Charlton pool, just a short walk to the site entrance.

Travel Packages

Travel packages are available from a number of tour operators through Qantas Holidays (AU), Qantas Vacations (USA), House of Travel (NZ) and Sofitel Sydney, offering planned itineraries and discounts on accommodation, dining, and other iconic Sydney experiences with the purchase of a show ticket.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see West Side Story in a completely new way. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.


Maria Julie Lea Goodwin Tony Alexander Lewis

Conductor Guy Simpson Director Francesca Zambello Choreographer Julio Monge Set Designer Brian Thomson Costume Designer Jennifer Irwin Lighting Designer John Rayment

Performance dates

22 March – 21 April 2019 Excluding Mondays and Good Friday on 19 April

Performed in English 


Single adult tickets from $99 (fees may apply) Group and concession prices available for most performances. Opera Australia Box Office +61 2 9318 8200

Tickets to travel agents are also available via

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