The hills are alive

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘Sound of Music,’ translated into Hebrew, comes to Israel.

THE CAST of the Israel Opera version of ‘The Sound of Music  (photo credit: Elizur Reuveni)
THE CAST of the Israel Opera version of ‘The Sound of Music
(photo credit: Elizur Reuveni)
Tel Aviv will be alive with The Sound of Music when the timeless Rodgers & Hammer- stein musical arrives at the Israel Opera May 20-25.
Based on the harrowing memoir of Maria von Trapp, it tells the story of a courageous and folk- singing Catholic Austrian family that stood up to the Nazis and left their home to escape fascism. The show premiered on Broadway in 1959, winning a Tony award for Best Musical in 1960, before Julie Andrews unforgettably played Maria, the fun-loving nun turned nanny who falls in love with her employer and wins over his children, in the iconic 1965 film production.
The translated musical, T’zlilei Hamuzika , with nostalgic songs such as “Edelweiss” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” – all sung in Hebrew – kicked off in Haifa earlier this month. From Tel Aviv, it will travel to other cities in Israel.
Bert Fink, senior vice president in Europe for Rodgers & Hammer- stein, the company responsible for The Sound of Music worldwide, says the WWII-era fairy tale about a young peasant girl’s romance with the heroic captain is really anything but, as their “happily ever after” story is much more complicated.
“[This] family had a choice, and the safer choice, the easier choice, the more self-centered choice, the more financially pru- dent choice would have been to stay in Austria and serve the Nazi regime,” Fink says in an interview from his London office. “This family stood up for their princi- ples and did what they thought was right. They gave up every- thing they had and they became penniless refugees, and that’s how they left Austria.”
The von Trapps escaped to the US, where they toured throughout Europe and the United States as a family singing group to make ends meet.
While they could have stayed in Austria in safety – the captain, a WWI veteran, was offered a posi-tion in the Third Reich’s navy, which he turned down – unlike Jewish families, they preferred to flee in defiance. Fink believes this message will especially appeal to Israeli audiences. Performing in their language won’t hurt either.
“It sounds as beautiful in Hebrew as it does in English,” he says. “Do-Re-Mi,” for instance, is translated into Hebrew sounds that maintain the play on words.
“I don’t speak Hebrew very well but I do speak Sound of Music , so I’m looking forward,” says Fink.
“It’s that combination of romantic inspirational story which hap- pens to be true, wonderful characters and of course a great Rogers & Hammerstein score which never seems to go out of date.”

Tickets: NIS 180-290 To order go to or call *9066