Friday, December 5, 2008

No Sound Of Music Here, Please

The Austrian city of Salzburg has blocked plans to open a hotel in a former home of the von Trapp family immortalized in the movie "The Sound of Music" after protests by neighbors.

The "Villa Trap" had been expected to open this year in a quiet, upscale Salzburg neighborhood. Area residents had feared tourists would tie up traffic and make a nuisance of themselves. Hotel organizers say they will appeal Wednesday's decision by the urban planning committee.

The home once belonged to the von Trapps, made famous in the 1965 movie in which Julie Andrews played a nun-turned-nanny who cared for a widower's seven children and fell in love with him during World War II.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Andrews was nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Maria von Trapp. Andrews herself went on to a long and distinguished film and stage career. But her most recent starring role will bring her back to Austria, hosting one of music's biggest annual events.

The 73-year-old actress is succeeding Walter Cronkite as anchor of the Vienna Philharmonic's annual New Year's Day concert on PBS. Cronkite had been the narrator of the "Great Performances" telecast in the United States for the past 24 years. The New Year's concert in Vienna - mostly waltzes, polkas and marches from the Strauss family - has an estimated worldwide TV audience exceeding 1 billion.

Andrews plans to fly to Vienna on Friday for the start of production. She has not been there since the early 1960s, when she visited the city while "The Sound of Music" was in production in Salzburg and other parts of Austria.


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