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First full all-puppet musical in the UAE captivates adults and children alike

24th Mar 2010

Abu Dhabi comes alive with The Sound of Music in a unique performance by the Salzburg Marionette Theatre

Theatregoers in Abu Dhabi were last night treated to a fantastic all-puppet adaptation of one of the world’s best known pieces of musical theatre, The Sound of Music, as part of Abu Dhabi Festival 2010.   The piece was performed by the renowned Salzburg Marionette Theatre, one of the oldest and highly regarded marionette theatres in the world.

The striking new version of the theatrical classic is told through the magic of marionette puppetry. A captivated audience sat enthralled by the story of the Van Trapp family and beautiful renditions of the musical’s famous songs – including timeless favourites My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi and Edelweiss

Audience members old and young marvelled at the mesmerising spectacle of the puppetry as the skilled manipulators of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre brought the wooden marionettes to life.  The performance followed the traditional plot of The Sound of Music, joining Maria as a novice nun and taking her through her introduction to the von Trapp family to the musical’s touching finale, with marionette performances accompanied by the specially-recorded soundtrack.

The famous 1965 film version of The Sound of Music featured one of the most famous screen marionette performances during The Lonely Goatherd sequence, one of the most charming musical numbers ever captured on film.  This inspired the Salzburg Marionette Theatre to translate the entire production – set in their hometown of Salzburg, Austria - for marionette performance.

H.E. Hoda al Khamis Kanoo comments:

“The Sound of Music is a classic of musical theatre that is cherished around the world.  The musical is a proud, magical genre, and we are extremely pleased to bring it to the UAE as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 program.  The Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s novel interpretation adds an extra dimension to the piece, taking the audience on a unique emotional journey through the expert movements of the exquisite marionettes.

“One of the Abu Dhabi Festival’s strengths is our dedication to create engaging partnerships with leading cultural institutions around the world.  The Salzburg Marionette Theatre is a model example of how successful these partnerships can be – giving Abu Dhabi not only a night of entertainment, but also taking the time to educate and engage with the local community through their performances.”

The Sound of Music was originally a 1959 Broadway stage musical written by acclaimed duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, based on a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.  This in turn was based on the real-life memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre is one of the world’s best known marionette theatres, and represents the continuation of a great heritage of European puppet theatre.  It was founded in 1913 by Anton Aicher, based on his experiences of the Munich Marionette Theatre founded 55 years earlier.

The Theatre will also give a children’s performance today (Wednesday 24 March) at Abu Dhabi Theatre.

The Abu Dhabi Festival 2010 is held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and runs until 7 April. This year’s Festival will be a feast of arts and culture with more than 90 events over three weeks, fusing world-class performances in traditional, classical and jazz music, drama, fine arts, and ballet and rich community and education programs.