A cross between “Cinderella” and “Snow-White”, set in the Nazi aggression era, “The Sound of Music” was not only a Broadway success, but also the production which saved the 20th Century Fox studios from bankruptcy, in the mid-1960s. The love story between the widowed sea captain, father of seven, and a governess just about to take the veil, who flee Nazi-occupied Austria, inventing a family-musical ensemble, conquered the public, in the US and elsewhere. Now, the story is about to become one of the hits of this year’s Cluj National Opera season. Signed by the young director Mihaela Bogdan, based on the original libretto of the 1959 music-hall, the play is based on the autobiography of the former aspiring nun, who became a household figure, as portrayed by the actress Julie Andrews, opposite Christopher Plummer.
The Cluj version of the play is a combination between the original English songs and lines spoken in Romanian, at times less convincing because of the low dramatic quality of voices accustomed to singing. Nevertheless, some of the performers manage to bring an original quality to the show. Iulia Merca, lively, playful, even flirting at times, bestows a somewhat more bohemian-sensual air to the character than the “angelic” Julie Andrews on screen. Bogdan Baciu is a more discrete captain, a far cry from the seductive charm of a Hollywood star, more demure, but lending a convincing nobleness to the character and capable to delve into a complex emotional range. Liana Sfarlea manages to offer a credible performance as the governess’s rich “rival”, contending for the captain’s heart. A pleasant surprise is the young Alice Bacalau, who plays the captain’s eldest daughter, a young girl in love, naïve, but exquisitely lively, delightful in her awkwardness and endowed with a grace not without dalliance.
The next performance is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, starting 6:30pm.
Venue: Cluj National Opera;
Address: 24 Stefan cel Mare Square;
Tel. no.: 0264/597.175