Sound of Music to Go on Stage as Ballet for First Time
By Han Sang-hee
``The Sound of Music,'' the beloved tale of love and music, will be transformed into a ballet for the first time this month.
The Nowon Culture and Arts Center is staging the famous work led by dancer and choreographer Lee Won-kuk and ballerina Kim Sun-jeong. This is the first time ``The Sound of Music'' is presented through ballet in the world, according to the makers.
``When we say bringing art to the public, people tend to think of making it too easy and light. Through `The Sound of Music,' we are hoping to break this mold and bring something that is both entertaining and artful,'' the choreographer Ji Woo-young said.
The initial idea to come up with a ballet version of ``The Sound of Music'' was made by the producer Kim Hyo. Seeking to bring ballet closer to the public, he dreamt of bringing something that could connect with the audience.
``That was when Ji made a proposal to make a ballet piece that could make people laugh and cry. We thought `The Sound of Music' would be perfect. It's a romantic comedy, but it doesn't move away from reality, nor does it ignore the historical background,'' Kim said.
``We will make sure to feature the comedy, romance and humanism in the ballet as well,'' he added.
Although the dancers will not be singing on stage, visitors will get to listen to the well known songs in the backdrop, followed by the exquisite movements of the dancers. A total of seven numbers, including the lovely duet between the eldest Liesl and her boyfriend Rolf, the ``Do-Re-Mi'' song and finally the last performance by the whole family before their escape, will be presented.
Three additional numbers have been made exclusively for the performance, and they will be presented live by tenor Lee Sang-joo and the Nowon District Choir.
``The Sound of Music'' may be famous as a film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in 1965, but it was first introduced to the public as a musical. Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, ``The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,'' the musical became a huge hit and enjoyed numerous productions and revivals since its premiere in 1959. The production won the Tony Awards for Best Musical and also the Best Actress, Best Scenic Designer of a Musical and the Best Musical Direction.
The movie also won critical acclaim from both fans and film experts, winning the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Score, Best Sound and Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards.
The storyline of the ballet in similar to the film version: The stern former commander in the Austrian Army, Captain con Trapp, and his seven children welcome a nun-to-be Maria as their new governess during the Anschluss, or the 1938 de facto annexation of Austria by the Nazi regime. The army-like household is not used to Maria's bright and positive words and songs, but the captain and children come to realize her efforts and love. The captain and children change as Maria starts to take charge with her lovely songs and they flee the country for freedom to Switzerland, after holding a memorable performance as a family at a music festival.
Famed ballerino Lee will play Captain von Trapp, while ballerina Kim will appear as the lovely Maria.
``The Sound of Music'' will be held at the Culture and Arts Center from Jan. 29 to 31. Tickets cost from 15,000 to 20,000 won. For more information, visit http://nowonart.kr or call (02) 951-3355.