Story by Breanne Gibb.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre will be performing The Sound of Music Feb. 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.

The group was founded during 1913 in Salzburg, Austria, making it one of the oldest marionette theatres in the world and one of the last remaining marionette theatres in all of Europe, according to the Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s website.

Their shows range from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice in Wonderland, along with many others.

Nadine Luke, a faculty member in the music department, said she visited Salzburg last August with the BYU-Idaho Department of Music Travel study group. There, she attended The Magic Flute, which was performed by the Marionette Theatre.

“I loved the show, and all of the students and faculty that attended with me had similar responses,” Luke said. “Everything about the Marionette Theatre is unique: the puppets, the puppeteers, the staging and the level of performance. The puppeteers who control the marionettes were very skilled, and the overall show was wonderfully done.”

Aside from the marionettes, Philippe Brunner, director of the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, said singing plays a significant part in one of their shows. Brunner said the music and singing is all recorded beforehand and played as the puppets are performing on stage.

“The singing is specially recorded for the show,” Brunner said. “It’s specially recorded by Broadway singers, even well-known ones.”

Madalyn Hill, a freshman studying psychology, said she has great appreciation for the art of opera. Hill studied classical/vocal singing for almost nine years and began singing opera her junior year of high school.

“I love opera,” Hill said. “It’s beautiful. It’s musicians coming together and pooling their different talents and creating something amazing.”

While opera may not play a signifigant role in most people’s lives, Hill said it is a very important piece of hers.

“It’s a powerful and emotional experience for me,” Hill said. “Listening to it makes me more creative and calm.”

Brunner said it is not so much the musical aspect that makes their performances unique, but the humor brought into them by the puppets.

“The puppets come alive as human beings,”  Brunner said. “Puppets are more humorous than real life actors. The whole illusion gives a tremendous performance.”

Hill said she believes opera is something that can be aquired by taste.

“Seeing a production in person, feeling the power of the voices and instruments and composition, it’d be hard not to be blown away. I think it’s a cultural experience that everyone should try at least once,” Hill said.

Luke said she is excited for the Marionette Theatre to come to campus because opera performances are not scheduled in Rexburg very often, especially with a worldwide famous group from Europe.

“I’m not sure where else in the world you can see such a show other than in Salzburg,” Luke said. “I’m looking forward to attending this again myself.”