Fifty years after its release, the MGM re-mastered film returns to the big screen in high definition with its original vocals and dialog intact. This classic romantic tragedy and the bitter battle between the Jets and the Sharks as Leonard Bernstein's seminal score, featuring the much loved 'America', 'Somewhere' and 'Tonight', is dramatically brought to life on stage by The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Jayce Ogren at the Royal Albert Hall for four performances tonight, June 22nd to June 24, 2012.
Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story features Robbins' breathtaking choreography, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a screenplay by Ernest Lehman based on the masterful book by Arthur Laurents. Still one of the most acclaimed films, West Side Story was the winner of ten Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Music. It remains one of the one of the greatest achievements in the history of movie musicals.
Jasper Hope, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Albert Hall, said: 'West Side Story is an iconic film musical known and loved the world over and the Hall offers these live orchestral performances as part of the world-wide celebrations of the film's 50th anniversary. Half a century after its release, West Side Story is still regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. These exclusive anniversary screenings, accompanied for the first time ever in Europe by the live performance of one of the greatest scores ever composed, will introduce this timeless classic to an entirely new generation'.
Paul Epstein, Executive Vice President of The Leonard Bernstein Office, said: 'The brilliance and crispness of the brand new Blu-Ray print, together with the visceral excitement brought by a full orchestra of over 85 musicians, right there in the Hall with you, will make this experience of West Side Story one that you will never forget'.
Jayce Ogren is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the finest young conductors to emerge from America equally at home in both symphonic and operatic repertoire. In recent seasons, he has conducted the BBC Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony and the Grand Rapids Symphony. On the opera stage, Ogren made his Canadian Opera Company debut with Stravinsky's The Nightingale & Other Short Fables. Following an invitation from New York City Opera to conduct a staged production of Mozart's Magic Flute, he was subsequently re-invited last season for a critically acclaimed new production of Bernstein's A Quiet Place.
This season, Ogren will make his debut throughout Europe and the States with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Napa Valley Symphony and Berkeley Symphony. Ogren's critically acclaimed performances with New York City Opera have led to another re-invitation and he will return to the New York City Opera to conduct performances of Rufus Wainwright's opera Prima Donna.
The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO) has delighted audiences worldwide with its versatile programming, having been in constant demand for live performances and recordings of classical, light classical and popular music since its formation in 1987. The RPCO has an excellent reputation for working with internationally-renowned artists ranging from opera luminaries Andrea Bocelli, José Carreras, Lesley Garrett, Bryn Terfel, Renée Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti to popular culture icons Burt Bacharach, Tina Turner, George Benson, Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, Liza Minnelli, Randy Newman, Sir Cliff Richard and Stevie Wonder.