IT goes without saying that there is something very chilling about the flag of Nazi Germany unfolding just feet from where you’re sitting.

The jackboots are never far away in The Sound of Music but, like the Von Trapp children, we’re largely shielded from the terrible dilemma facing their father, a Naval captain in occupied Austria. Time finally runs out in the dramatic Salzburg Festival scene when the audience takes on the role of another audience - cowed into submission by the men in uniform pacing in front of that sinister flag.

Nuns, lonely goatherds, tea with jam and bread... they all have a place in this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. But it is, after all, based on a real wartime drama and as well as fun, romance and music, the show has poignancy. In this delightful production of the beloved musical, the poignancy came when Andrew Lancel’s voice cracked with emotion during a haunting performance of Edelweiss, the Captain’s farewell to his beloved Austria.

And it came when Maria, beautifully played by Emilie Fleming, bared her soul and confessed her love in Something Good.

The Sound of Music is filled with songs we take for granted, but an excellent cast, accompanied by an impressive orchestra led by Jeremy Wootton, gave the score a fresh spark. Highlights included Do-Re-Mi, sung by Maria and the children, My Favourite Things (Maria and the nuns) and Climb Ev’ry Mountain, a showstopper to end all showstoppers, sung by remarkable Welsh soprano Megan Llewellyn as Mother Abbess. I think the hairs on the back of my neck are still on end after her incredible performance.

While the music takes pride of place, the set is impressive too, shifting from the tranquil abbey where novice nun Maria can’t settle to the elegant Von Trapp mansion where she arrives as a governess. The action unfolds against a constant backdrop of snow-capped alps that protect the family, then offer an escape.

Andrew Lancel was excellent as Captain Von Trapp, burying his emotion beneath the restraint of a military man and widower who runs his house like a tight ship and has shut music out of his life. Emilie Fleming melted our hearts, taking Maria from carefree girl to assured wife and mother.

Great performances too from Howard Samuels as Max, Olivia Alexander as Baroness Schraeder and Michael Anderson as Rolf. The Sound of Music wouldn't be anything without the singing children, and these youngsters were terrific, as was the pitch perfect choir of nuns. Heavenly!

* The Sound of Music is at the Alhambra until Saturday.