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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

West Side Story in the Sondheim Review

James Wright
General Director
VO's West Side Story
With the headline “Big budget, bold production,” the Chicago-based magazine The Sondheim Review wrote two pages about our October 2011 production of West Side Story, noting the production was “[b]acked by a strong vision and a hefty budget, the company dressed up West Side Story, resulting in a compelling mix of opera and music theatre.  The combination packed a powerful punch.”

The story examines the role of music theatre – and specifically Sondheim – in the repertoire mix of opera companies, quoting last winter’s Maclean's article on the same subject.  The author, Jennifer Suratos, notes that while A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd have frequently been produced by opera companies, WSS is another matter. Quoting Jamie Weinman in the Maclean's article writing “Opera companies may have an advantage over repertory and Broadway revivals, which sometimes skimp on musical values” Suratos states “There was no shortage of production value in [VO’s] WSS and certainly no skimping.” She goes on, "By giving it a large stage, a full orchestra pit and classically trained singers in the leading roles, WSS really shone in its opera finery."

While we produce for the enjoyment of our own audience right here in British Columbia and northern Washington State, we are happy to accept, on behalf of the artistic team and all the assembled talent, the accolades of The Sondheim Review!

- James Wright
General Director, Vancouver Opera

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