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News |  17 Jun 2015 15:16 |  By IANS

Legendary Viennese choir enthralls Kolkata with 'The Sound of Music'

MUMBAI: The Vienna Boys' Choir - one of the oldest boys' choirs in the world - regaled students of the eastern metropolis on Tuesday, in their maiden Indian outing, with evergreen melodies from iconic Hollywood film 'The Sound of Music' as a tribute to the landmark movie on its golden jubilee.

Winner of five Oscars, 'The Sound of Music' starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, released to international acclaim in 1965.

Based on the real life story of the famed von Trapp family singers of Austria, the cult film gave the world memorable melodies like 'My Favourite Things', 'Do Re Mi' and 'Edelweiss' to hum for decades to come.

Conducted by Oliver Stech of the over 500-year-old choir, voice coach Barbara Palmetzhofer, her student Joanna Bleiweiss and soloist Gino Hsu, compositions from the film seemed to transport an entranced audience of teachers, students and parents attending the Edelweiss Festival in Kolkata, to the picturesque Austrian alps, the setting of the movie.

For the sopranos Barbara and 16-year-old Joanna, cheers and thunderous applause were a revelation about India's love for the film.

When 13-year old Hsu sang 'Edelweiss', the effect on the audience was that of tranquility and calm.

They sang along with Hsu as well as when Joanna accompanied him in yodeling the 'The Lonely Goatherd'.

While Barbara led on with 'Do-Re-Mi', enthusiastic students burst into the song with the choir.

The performers won the audience's hearts with their gentle dance steps, their fluid gestures and their expressions which reflected the love for the songs.

"We know that audience in the US and other parts of the world love it but we didn't know people in India know the lyrics by heart. It has been a heartwarming experience here," choirmaster Stech, a pianist, told IANS.

Barbara, who has two Indian students, said she looked forward to more performances in India.

"This was our first performance in India and we hope to deepen the relationship between artists of the two countries with more cultural collaborations," she said.

The singers belted out a love song for Vienna at the event where as many as 18 Kolkata schools participated to highlight different sides of the movie in an innovative manner.

The two-day gala is being organised by the Ashok Hall Group of Schools, in association with the Austrian embassy in India.