Music: West Side Story, Gentrified

Side Story, GENTRIFIED Bernstein's musical gets an all-star operatic cast

At its Broadway premiere in 1957, the city-gritty updating of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Composer Leo nard Bernstein, Lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Choreographer Jerome Robbins was hailed as much for its quasi-operatic score as for its savvy lyrics and explosive, streetwise dances. Now comes a new Deutsche Grammophon recording, conducted by the composer, that makes the show's higher musical aspirations unabashedly explicit.

Writing an operatic Broadway show was considered box-office poison 30 years ago, but Bernstein was up to the task. "Chief problem (is) to tread the fine line between opera and Broadway, between realism and poetry, ballet and 'just...

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