The Hills Are Still Alive!
Remember The Sound of Music? Sure you do! Now, quick–what’s your favorite scene? The one where Maria topples the rowboat and she and the kids fall into the lake? Liesl and Rolfe leaping across the rain-spattered gazebo, while singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”? The “Lonely Goatherd” marionette play? Whatever it is, chances are it was filmed at or inspired by this remarkable place:
What It Is
This is Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. It has an intriguing history as it was owned by a ream of interesting personalities, one of whom was Max Reinhardt. He was, incidentally, co-founder of the Salzburg Festival, a fact which I find curiously ironic. Schloss Leopoldskron was confiscated during WWII, while Reinhardt was living and working in Hollywood, but was eventually regained by the Reinhardt estate and has since become home to the Salzburg Global Seminar. My husband attended a conference there when were living in Germany, and my oldest two children and I were lucky enough to join him. (And as an example of “life meets art imitating life” that I can’t help but share, my oldest son played Max Reinhardt in his high school production of “Shakespeare in Hollywood.” He was very good. ;-) )
During our stay, we learned a few things about the schloss and its role in The Sound of Music. I will take you on a small tour of the palace and sprinkle it with a few fun facts about the filming of the movie, for your added enjoyment.
This is Max Reinhardt’s library, in use by attendants of the current seminar. As guests we did not actually stay at the schloss, but we stayed at Mierhof, the adjacent residence on the same park like grounds. Conference meetings did take place in rooms of the schloss, and we were fortunate to be able to have breakfast at the schloss in grand style.
It was a magnificent way to start the day!
The views from the palace were wonderful,
while the interior was filled with ornate details and impressive artwork.
This mirrored room was the inspiration for the setting of the ballroom scene in The Sound of Music. It was completely replicated for filming that scene, and the “lonely goatherd” puppet show was also shot in the reproduced room.
Best of all were the palace grounds.
The palace faces Leopoldskron Lake, which is every bit as gorgeous as it appears in the movie. The terrace of the schloss was the spot where the dripping wet Von Trapp children emerged from the lake and lined up to greet their father upon his return home with the baroness. It served as the backdrop for all the scenes “behind” the Von Trapp house, including the scenes where Maria teaches the children to dance and then dances with the Captain. (A different palace was used for the front view of the Von Trapp family home).
The gazebo used for the scenes featuring “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Something Good” (the tender love song that the Captain and Maria sing to each other, which happens to be one of my favorite scenes from the movie, and I’m getting teary-eyed now just thinking about it) was also part of the schloss grounds. It was Max Reinhardt’s music pavilion, and it also was rebuilt, on a slightly larger scale, for filming the interior shots of those scenes. Once Sound of Music enthusiasts caught word that the famous gazebo was there, however, they constantly managed to make their way onto the private grounds of the schloss to get a glimpse or a photo of it, and it was finally relocated.
Bring It Home
The real Von Trapp family left Nazi occupied Austria on a concert tour in 1938 and traveled to the United States to continue their tour, later settling in Stowe, Vermont. Maria von Trapp tells the story of her family and her very colorful life in her 1972 autobiography, Maria (which I read many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed). The Von Trapp family eventually opened a hotel in the hills of Vermont, and you can book a stay at The Trapp Family Lodge yourself.
Until then, you know what to do. Make a big bowl of popcorn, gather your family round, and put in the DVD. I can hear you singing already.
- Posted in: Entertainment
- Tagged: Austria, entertainment, europe, gazebo, Hollywood, Julie Andrews, Lonely Goatherd, Maria, Maria Von Trapp, Max Reinhardt, movies, music, Photograph, photography, Salzburg, Salzburg Global Seminar, Schloss Leopoldskron, Sixteen going on seventeen, Sound of Music, The Sound of Music, Trapp Family Lodge, travel, Von Trapp