“The Sound of Music” gave us some glorious songs over half a century ago and “My Favorite Things” remains, today, my favorite from that show; Coltrane’s rendition of it is exceptional. Now, one of the world’s best-loved musicals has been staged—for the very first time—in Salzburg, Austria. Andreas Gergen, the show’s Musical Director has successfully brought to life a living piece of history.
Why has it taken so long to come home? Well, for one thing, through the years, the people of this city have had misgivings about the show. Some have considered it not the “real thing,” somewhat syrupy, even kitsch. More importantly, perhaps, the story touches on Austria’s Nazi past. The country has traditionally claimed that it was the first victim of Nazi Germany; however, in recent times, Austria has acknowledged responsibility for crimes of the Third Reich.
The country has traditionally claimed that it was the first victim of Nazi Germany; however, in recent times, Austria has acknowledged responsibility for crimes of the Third Reich. Co-director of the musical, Christian Struppeck, explains that some people still find the issue uncomfortable. Salzburgers prefer to think of their town as the City of Mozart.
Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu
I attended a production of this musical in Salzburg several months ago, and I’m delighted to report that the entire audience, more than half of whom were Salzburgers, elicited not the slightest bit of discomfort. Instead, they were completely engrossed in the show and wildly enthusiastic with their applause after each Rogers and Hammerstein II song. The most poignant moment in a show that was
The most poignant moment in a show that was chock-full of them was the finale—the showstopper—when, during a standing ovation Count Georg von Trapp (played by Uwe Kroger) asked us to sing “Climb Every Mountain” and “Edelweiss” while an electronic libretto system translated the German words into English. We stood and sang the songs with great feeling. The mood was one of recognition, acknowledgment and, yes, acceptance of the play and what it portrays. Leaving the theater, I couldn’t help humming some that brilliant score. I doubt if I was alone.
This is an absolutely perfect play for the entire family; kids as young as 3 or 4 will get right into it and identify with Gretl, age 5, the youngest von Trapp. Teens will find the love story of Rolf and Liesl appealing and sweet. This is a truly great family production to attend whilst in Salzburg.
Barbara Barton Sloane is the Travel Editor/Writer for The Westchester Guardian, The Westchester Herald and The Yonkers Tribune as well as a contributor to a great number of other publications. Barbara is an avid marathon runner, hiker and cyclist and a very active volunteer. You can learn more about her by visiting www.barbarabartonsloane.com/