March Monikers: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”


To purchase the 1998 Broadway Revival Cast Recording of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, click on the image above.

March 2012 at Musical Cyberspace is all about songs with people’s names in the title.

For the nuns in The Sound of Music, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote a cheerful meditation on what do do about one of their troublesome novices, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” The song appears at a time when the Mother Superior, at a loose end, is considering sending Maria away from the convent for a while to be a governess to a local naval Captain’s seven children. It is the qualities listed by the other nuns in this song that help her make her decision, a confirmation of the Mother Superior’s instincts that Maria is the perfect choice for the job. What fun!

If you’re keen to share your thoughts on “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”, then head on to the comment box at the end of this post.

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2 Responses to March Monikers: “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”

  1. Laura says:

    I recently saw the stage version of this musical and it blew me away, although I felt some of the love sequence in the 2nd act was rushed. But this song was a perfect song to bring the mood up in the dreary abbey. It shows just how Maria could enjoy life there with witty nuns and cheerful song.

  2. David Fick says:

    Of course, this song isn’t really “sung” by the nuns in that it isn’t diegetic. The only type of singing that takes place at the abbey are things like “Dixit Dominus” in the “Preludium”, the “Alleluia” chorus and the wedding chorale, which is beautiful and profound music, but which nonetheless represents the rules and conformity that grate against Maria’s free spirit.

    However, I understand what you mean and what I love about the song is how it shows that the nuns are real people, not just cyphers in habits.

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