Have you heard the Sound of Music? You must surely have watched it. But I had not till I visited Salzburg. This is the same city where the original story and the movie were based on. The old musical drama film was based on the story of Von Trapp family. Tour operators organise half day tour in and around the city with the name of The Sound of Music Tour. I became the part of this conducted tour and thus know the story. Stay with me to know the story.
Conducted tour with its time constraints and restrictions is never my piece of bread. But with limited time this was the sole option to move around the city. So this tour gave me the opportunity to see the place, know about the movie and the original story and meet new people. Our guide for the tour was Mr Seifert Wolfgang. He introduced himself as a photographer, a part-time pilot and an enthusiastic hiker.
The city of Salzburg is surrounded by the snow covered alps. The summer months gives ample scope for hiking and mountain climbing. As he frequently flies through the high altitudes, he playfully said he has good contacts with the one who stays above the clouds. He asked him to bless the day with good weather :). Surprisingly it turned out to be a bright day even though we started our tour with a gloomy sky.
He took us through the city showing various places associated with the Von Trapp family. Not knowing the story it was just another different place for us. But indeed the places were beautiful. The Hohensalzburg Castle on the hill was seen from every corner of the city. This building was shown as the monastery where Maria used to live before entering the Von Trapp family.
Thus one after the other he showed various magnificent buildings and location describing the scene that was picturised on the particular location. We could only enjoy the beauty of the place keeping aside the scene that was shot there. Mr Wolfgang enquired whether we watched the movie. On seeing our embarrassment he said he too watched the movie before becoming the guide to this tour.
As he was narrating the incidents he was playing the song along with. Few songs were very popular were also known to me. By then I very well knew Maria, the main character of the movie. Some place Maria did dance in some place Maria ran. All locations had the reference of some shots from the movie. I was really feeling that I should have watched the movie before this trip.
Then he narrated the true story of the Von Trapp’s on which the movie is based. The story starts with the young navy captain Georg Ritter von Trapp. He was renowned with the fame for his mission to sink the French submarine Leon Gambetta, during World War I. He met Agathe Whitehead at a ball and fell in love with her and married her. After a few years, Lady Whitehead died leaving behind the captain alone looking after their seven children.
Maria Augusta von Kutschera, the protagonist of the story was born on a train and underwent strict education. She later, highly influenced by the preaching of a well-known priest, Father Kronseder, became a nun and joined the Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The captain unable to take care of his seven children and especially of the youngest sick child sought help from the nunnery.
Maria was sent from the convent for a year as a governess to the captain’s youngest daughter suffering from rheumatic fever. The children got highly attached to Maria. After the completion of a year, they did not want her to go. They approached their father to marry her. The Captain replied he don’t even know if Maria likes him. The children then asked Maria for marriage and she agreed, never to return back to the abbey.
Maria gave birth to two daughters. They were leading a happy life when they were hit by the depression and all their family money were lost. They now turned their family hobby of music as their mode of income. Their freshness of voice leads them to many awards. They started performing throughout Europe.
This is when Hitler entered Austria. The Captain was offered to join the Nazis in a high position in navy. He declined the offer saying he has taken the oath of loyalty for one Emperor. This lead to the wrath of the Nazis on the family. They decided to save their lives leaving behind their material wealth.
They escaped from Austria dressed as regular hikers on a mountaineering trip. Crossing the border and the Alps then through Italy, Switzerland and France they reached London to board the ship to America. Maria was pregnant with the tenth child of the Trapp family. They reached New York. They were accompanied by their family friend Father Wasner. Under his direction, they started performing again and came to be known as The Trapp Family Singers.
The family performed throughout the United States. After World War II, they did many charitable programmes. They sent food and items of clothing back to their native country of Austria. In the year 1947, the captain died and much later in 1987 Maria died. They both were buried side by side in the family cemetery behind their lodge in Stowe, Vermont.
Thus the story ends with the death of the protagonist. But the members of the Von Trapp family still visits their native country. Salzburg and surrounding are scattered with the buildings and memorials from the movie as well as the true story. Thus we went to many places from the Church where Maria got married to the Captain to the Von Trapp villa which has now turned into a hotel.
With all these stories and the locations, I could not wait to watch the movie. I thought the first that I would do once I am back home is watch the movie. But alas! I could not do it yet. So I would take your leave to watch the movie. For those who got intrigued by the story go ahead and watch the movie with its beautiful music… The Sound of Music.