Romance and music takes over Istana Budaya with "The Sound of Music"

31 Dec 2022 09:45am
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Istana Budaya was alive with the sound of music! (Quite literally).

When we think about musicals that can resonate with audiences across different generations, The Sound of Music is arguably the top choice, considering it’s the most successful Broadway musical of all time.

As I walked towards the entrance of Istana Budaya, I spotted a group of kids frolicking around the outdoor foyer.

“Welcome to the sound of music!” - they shouted in chorus towards us.

Myself, and a few others who have come to watch the highly-anticipated show chuckled as we acknowledged the warm welcome for the Gala Opening Night Premiere Show.

Ahh, these must be the young local talents who have been cast in the show, I realised.

Whether you have watched the original 1965 American musical film, which this musical is adapted from, you must know or heard of how highly acclaimed the title is.

For five years after its release, it reigned as the highest-grossing film in history. The original film starred Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmain Carr, Heather Menzies, and more.

It’s amazing what art can do for us. Here we are, about to enter 2023, coming together to appreciate this timeless classic, crafted almost six decades ago.

For that, the cast of this musical had elegantly transported us back in time with iconic tunes that ring familiar.

To briefly recap, the story follows Maria Rainer, who was finding her true calling before she became a governess in the home of Captain Von Trapp, a widowed father with seven children.

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Maria’s warm nature and love for songs eventually won the hearts of the Von Trapp children, and softened Captain Von Trapp’s demeanour, who appeared cold and strict at first. Drama ensues when Austria is annexed by Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Jill-Christine Wiley is truly enchanting as Maria - her soulful voice, and natural charisma and vibrant nature on stage captivated the audience throughout the show. It’s no surprise she’s that good, given she has performed the show 500 times!

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The first song she sang is, in fact, The Hills Are Alive. Other tunes she carried throughout the set like “Do Re Mi”, “My Favourite Things” were performed effortlessly even with the heavenly notes and spectacular harmonies.

I can’t dismiss how equally talented the remaining cast were. Trevor Martin who played Captain Von Trapp presented a palpable chemistry on set with the others, in addition to his beautiful voice.

Another highlight of the show was Mother Abbess played by Lauren Kidwell, who received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the show due to her impeccable vocals, especially when she sang the song “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”.

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Hats off to the young local talents who played the Von Trapp kids - I could only imagine how nerve-wracking it must feel to perform before a large audience at the prestigious hall, but their performance was top-notch.

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Incredible talent is crucial for a musical but what elevates it further is an amazing set. For this musical, it had to be set in Austria, on the cusp of the Nazi invasion. The set did not disappoint.

I think one of the iconic moments of the show was when the Nazi flags were draped behind the Von Trapp family when they were singing at the “concert” towards the end of the show.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself - the last musical I watched was Phantom of the Opera back in 2019, in Manila Philippines so getting to watch The Sound of Music in my own country is certainly a good way to end the year.

If you're looking to watch this with family or friends, “The Sound of Music” will be staged at Istana Budaya until Jan 15, 2023.

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