Vancouver Opera opens its season with one of the greatest theatrical and musical works of the 20th century: Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. This high-energy, knock-your-socks-off production will be on stage for eight thrilling performances only, October 22 – 29 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

VO’s spectacular production will feature Jerome Robbins’s original choreography, also seen in the classic 1961 film. Accompanied by the powerhouse 30-piece VO Orchestra, the sensational cast will include more than 40 of the country’s best triple threats who will sing, dance and act Bernstein’s masterpiece the way it was meant to be seen.

The story, in brief –Drawing on the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story transplants the action to 1950s New York City. The Sharks and the Jets, rival gangs, are gearing up for a rumble to end all rumbles, when reluctant Jet Tony falls in love with Maria, sister of the leader of the Sharks. Can love end the turf war, or will it all end in tragedy?

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This season, VO will be offering some matinees in addition to evening performances. Matinees will begin at 1:30pm and evening performances will begin at the usual time of 7:30pm. Opening night of West Side Story is Saturday, October 22, 2011. There will be a matinee performance on Sunday, October 23 ; evening performances on Tuesday, October 25; Wednesday, October 26; Thursday, October 27; Friday, October 28 and both a matinee and evening performance on Saturday, October 29.

All performances take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Georgia and Hamilton Streets, Vancouver, BC. Tickets are available exclusively at the Vancouver Opera Ticket Centre, online at or by telephone at 604-683-0222.

The director is Ken Cazan, who has helmed more than 100 theatre and opera productions. The choreographer is Tracey Flye, who handled the original Jerome Robbins choreography for an acclaimed production of West Side Story at the Stratford Festival in 2009. VO’s Chorus Director and Associate Conductor Leslie Dala will lead the VO Orchestra.