Moscow alive with the Sound of Music

Moscow alive with the Sound of Music

Published: 09 October, 2011, 13:49

From right: Natalia Bystrova as Maria Reiner and Elizaveta Arzamasoca as Liesl von Trapp in a scene from the musical “The Sound of Music” staged by Eugene Pisarev at Moscow Youth Palace (RIA Novosti / Grigory Sysoev)


The Moscow public streamed in for the first night of the magnificent Broadway musical The Sound of Music, which lit up the stage of Moscow Youth Palace (MDM).

­The love story between Maria, a junior nun, and widower Captain von Trapp in Nazi Austria just before World War II played to a full house on Saturday night. Though the contract prohibits any changes in the performance, the stage director of Moscow version, Eugene Pisarev, tried to bring the performance closer to the audience, filling the music with sensuality, bright emotions and modern aspects of love.

The Grammy-winning show exceeded the expectations of many a spectator.

I liked the musical. The costumes, staging, voices were perfect. And the plot is so kind and touching,” many were saying to the Stage Entertainment’s exit poll.

­The Sound of Music, first staged in the USA in 1959, is based on the autobiography by Maria von Trapp “The Story of the von Trapp Family Singers”. Widowed Captain Georg von Trapp (Kirill Rubtsov) falls in love with an aspirant from the local abbey, Maria Reiner (Natalya Bystrova), who has come to work as a governess for his seven children. The baron could marry beautiful and rich Baroness Elza Schräder (Irina Lindt) and join the Wehrmacht, but prefers Maria. To save his love and family from the Nazis, he escapes with them from Austria to Switzerland.

Special praise was given to Natalya Bystrova as Maria and the children. “Brilliant” was the word to refer to the prominent actress’s performance, used both by the public and reviewers.

Uncharacteristically for such projects, Moscow producers were allowed to select their cast on their own without further approval from the right owners.

To work in a musical, you should have equal singing, dancing and performing capabilities,” Eugene Pisarev, the stage director, told Itar-Tass news agency. “Such synthetic actors are few in numbers and the demand is great. I am proud that we have managed to engage the best and most experienced performers in this show.

Still, the stage director’s message of “the sacrament when two make one” did not seem to go down well with all of the public. Some spectators have found the musical too classical and the problems of the Austrian elite escaping the Nazi regime too remote from the local mentality, says a review by RIA Novosti news agency.

Nevertheless, the musical, created by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II over 50 years ago, will certainly bring back the audience back to their childhood.

When we were told these are the songs from your childhood, I could not figure out how it could be. But it turned out I have known these songs since long ago,” says one teenager after the first night.

One thousand four hundred and forty-three nights, 45 million spectators all over the world, eight Tony awards, multiple revivals – The Sound of Music is definitely something to hit Moscow stage. But can this record of success reflect all the glory of true love? Especially one with a happy ending.  

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