The stage design is set amongst graffittied walls of urban renewal – it could be contemporary Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. A few figures slink along the chain link fence, as one youth climbs over it. These are the Jets, a neighborhood gang. They taunt a hispanic person walking through their “turf”, who returns with members of his own. There is no singing or talking, just the balletically stylized leaps and jumps by the gang members scrimmaging against each other. This is what Bruce Springsteen wrote about in his song Jungleland:
meet `neath that giant Exxon sign that brings this fair city light
there's an opera out on the turnpike
There's a ballet being fought
out in the alley
Until the local cops, cherry tops, rips this holy
The singing by the multitercultural cast includes is lead by Italian-Canadian
LUCIA CESARONI as Maria. She is a strong soprano, and her speaking voice is a strong Puerto Rican accent.
Or it could be a Maria who has just arrived from the Phillipines? And her brother Bernardo is in a Phillipine gang that is struggling with finding their own place in the Asian-Canadian landscape against multigenerational Chinese-Canadian gangs.
It isn't that far removed an idea – especially when the Greater Vancouver area has news stories of gang fights between Filipino, Vietnamese and other ethnic groups, as well as organized gangs. http://moderntribalist.blogspot.com/2005/10/violent-ethnic-war-looms-between.html
My review to be continued and will posted later today….
check out Vancouver Opera http://www.vancouveropera.ca/West-Side-Story.html