Celebrating the von Trapp musicians who inspired the musical The Sound of Music
Q: What is the storyline for the The Sound of Music musical?
A: The backdrop is pre-War II, the story takes place in 1938, in Salzburg, Austria. It centers on a widowed Austro-Hungarian naval Baron and Captain, his seven children, and their governess. While predominantly a musical, it's a story about a family who ultimately chooses to leave home and country rather than support the Nazi regime. The story was inspired by the real-life von Trapp family.
Q: How similar is the movie to the von Trapp's real story?
A: Both the real-life von Trapp family and the fictionalized The Sound of Music story share common themes of family loyalty, principled decision-making, and a passion for music. Although, some of the facts between the two stories differ, the essence is similar.
Q: Did the family really escape over the Alps, like in The Sound of Music?
A: While hiking over the alps makes for great cinematic storytelling, in reality the family fled by train with few belongings. They had been singing professionally for a few years earlier and under pending performances abroad were able to depart to Italy.
Q: What did the family do after they left Austria?
A: For the next 17 years, they gave over 2,000 performances in venues ranging from high school auditoriums to iconic concert halls, bringing joy and comfort to over 3 million people throughout 30 countries. In their day, they were a household name within the United State and Europe and became known as "the most booked attraction in US history".
Q: Did the family get rich from The Sound of Music?
A: In 1956, Wolfgang Reinhardt approached Baroness Maria Kutschera von Trapp with the interest of turning her book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers into a German movie. Reinhardt and his associates offered her an immediate cash advance of $9,000 for the rights to her story. Without consulting a business manager, she accepted. The contract did not include royalties and therefore the family did not receive any additional revenue once the film became successful in Germany. Reinhardt later sold his rights to Rodgers and Hammerstein for the creation of the award-winning Broadway play. Subsequently the rights were sold to 20th Century Fox for the making of the 1965 hit, The Sound of Music. Comparatively, the family has not profited significantly from the global cultural phoenoman.
Q: Was the "Baron and Captain" really a Baron and Captain?
A: Yes. Baron Captain Georg von Trapp was born as a Ritter (meaning Knight) with the 'von' title, a hereditary title inherited his father Captain August Ritter von Trapp. Georg followed his father into the navy and earned distinction in his own right. Notably, during WWI, he became a submarine captain in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. In recognition of Georg's exemplary service, he was later elevated to Baron. Learn more about the real Captain.
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