By ANNE SIMPSON
THE Opening Night of The Sound of Music was received with rapturous applause last Friday, as Albany again showcased its formidable talent in one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular musicals.
Ever since it hit the screens in 1965, The Sound of Music has won the hearts of millions, with generations of fans still charmed by its unashamedly sentimental and whimsical story and timeless music.
And once again, under the directorship of Anne Davidson, the Albany Light Opera and Theatre Co (ALOTCO) has demonstrated it can take on any challenge and produce a sell-out season of eleven performances before the first curtain goes up.
It didn’t matter that most of us knew the story and the songs back to front and word for word.
We just wanted to sit back for a night of nostalgia and smile indulgently as Maria did her best to become a nun, before she won the hearts of the seven von Trapp children, and their father, through lots of singing, dancing and fun.
We silently sang along to all our favourite songs, and soon adjusted to the variations in the stage production, compared with the film, and barely noticed a few changes in some of the songs and events.
The costumes and scenery were superb, and the three-hour show never missed a beat or a do-re-me.
Each role was well cast, with the whistle-blowing captain Georg von Trapp played to perfection by James Turner.
Newcomer to ALOTCO Mollie Hare was delightful as Maria, with a strong voice and a natural acting ability that beautifully captured the essence of her demanding role.
The cheery nuns in the abbey were all blessed with glorious voices and were led by the versatile Carmen Fasolo as Mother Abess.
Carmen’s powerful rendition of Climb Every Mountain was one of the highlights of the opening night’s performance.
As expected, the von Trapp children stole the show.
Bonnie Staude (Liesl) looked as though she had just stepped out of the film and onto the stage, and amazed the audience with her amazing voice; Hudson Bell, (Friedrich), Bella Fasolo (Louisa), Kye Stewart (Kurt) and Josie Staude (Brigitta) slipped confidently into their roles, while Rosie Talbot, who performed at opening night, will take turns with Jessica Turner playing Marta.
The part of Gretl, the youngest member of the family, is being shared by Madison Bradford and Asha Lewis, both of whom have produced heart-melting performances.
Tom Croucher, who stepped in at the last minute when Todd McGregor became ill, excelled as the self-serving, witty Max Detweiler, while Azi le Page made an impressive ALOTCO debut as Baroness Elsa Schraeder.
Last but certainly not least, a round of applause must go to musical director, Hayley Burns and the orchestra for another excellent performance.