Opera Australia (OA) has unveiled the dynamic duo set to headline the 2024 cast of West Side Story at the renowned Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Taking the lead roles of Tony and Maria for the limited 4-week season starting March 22, the production will showcase the talents of the emerging Australian performers.

Nina Korbe, an award-winning First Nations soprano, will step into the spotlight for her professional theatrical debut as Maria. Meanwhile, the role of Tony will be brought to life by the Canberra-born tenor, Billy Bourchier, known for his stellar performance in OA’s widely acclaimed Miss Saigon production across multiple cities.

Nina Korbe is fiercely passionate about the representation of First Nations artists in the creative industries. She is a proud Koa, Kuku Yalanji, Wakka Wakka woman and is actively involved in the championing of First Nations voices.

Billy Bourchier was first introduced to theatre in Canberra. After cutting his teeth in several productions in the local region, Billy relocated to Brisbane to study at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, graduating in 2014 with Academic Excellence.

West Side Story cast Opera Australia
Billy Bouchier & Nina Korbe. Photo Credit: Daniel Boud

“We are so excited to have these two fabulous Australian talents lead this production, audiences are going to be thrilled by their talent and energy on stage,” says Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Jo Davies. 

“We want to be an opera company for, and reflective of, 21st century Australia. The full cast, which we’ll announce soon, features a diverse range of extraordinary talents drawn from both the opera and musical theatre worlds, who we know will brilliantly bring Bernstein’s masterpiece to life.”

Having premiered in 2019 to widespread acclaim, this exciting production of West Side Story has proven to be the most successful among all Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour productions. The grand spectacle, set against the backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour, features nightly fireworks, a live orchestra, and unfolds on Australia’s largest outdoor stage, offering breathtaking views of the city and harbour. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has undeniably become an integral part of the quintessential Sydney cultural experience.