Ravinia Festival welcomes Elisabeth von Trapp and Empire Brass Dec. 6
By Dorothy Andries December 4, 2012 5:32PM
Elisabeth Von Trapp
Empire Brass and Elisabeth von Trapp
◆ 8 p.m. Thursday
◆ Ravinia Festival’s Bennett Gordon Hall, 201 St. Johns Ave., Highland Park
◆ Tickets, $10
◆ (847) 266-5100; www.ravinia.org
Updated: December 4, 2012 7:12PM
After the singing von Trapp family escaped from the Nazis, the event was chronicled in the 1959 Broadway musical “The Sound of Music,” and again in the 1965 film with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer that etched the story and that family name in our collective memory.
And the film, though heavily fictionalized, was a favorite of Elisabeth von Trapp. “My father’s name was Werner,” she said. “He was the second oldest son and was part of the Trapp Family Singers. His name was changed to Kurt in the movie.”
Elisabeth is one of Werner’s six children. “We all loved going to ‘The Sound of Music,’ our cousins too,” she recalled, “because music is the core of our family bond.”
Elisabeth von Trapp will sing with the Empire Brass at the Ravinia Festival in a Christmas program.
The concert is, by all accounts, the first time a Christmas program has been given at the Ravinia Festival.
“Of course, the moment you state that,” Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman wryly observed, “someone comes out of the woodwork to remind you of that ‘great holiday performance’ they recall from 1943!”
Von Trapp said, “I’ll sing ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,’ which is an English carol. Also ‘Because All Men are Brothers’ by J. S. Bach, plus the French carol ‘Ding, Dong Merrily on High.’ ”
She will also do the touching “In the Bleak Midwinter,” a setting of the Christmas poem by Christina Rossetti. Having been raised in Vermont’s Sugarbush ski area, she said, laughing. “I know all about about bleak midwinters.”
And yes, she will sing the inspirational “Climb Every Mountain” and the reflective “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music,” the last musical Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote together.
Von Trapp began touring with the Empire Brass a decade ago and, in combination with her solo appearances, performs about 100 concerts a year.
Von Trapp particularly enjoys singing at the holidays.
“I hope, that like the original Trapp Family Singers who blessed the audience with their singing, the audiences at my programs will be transported into the joy of the songs I sing,” she said.
Dorothy Andries is a local free-lance writer.