Sound of Music in Trieste

This is a story about connections between von Trapp in the Musical and Trieste, China, and the author James Joyce.

A friend alerted me to the role played by Georg von Trapp in World War I.  With that in mind, Wife and I set out looking for the exhibition, The Navy of Hapsburg 1382 – 1918. The directions for Centrale Idrodinamica showed the location next to the train station in the old port section.  We found the center putting on the exhibition, but the site itself was another mile walk into the abandoned port.  Thoughts of Armageddon came to mind.

Alone in Porto Vecchio

Alone in Porto Vecchio

Clearly, these buildings have tales to tell.  There is talk of using the area for congresses and exhibition halls.  These have been mired in problems of financing and politics.

Finally, in the yellow building at the very end, we found the exhibition.  Except for a few models, it was basically pages printed from a research paper.  All in Italian.  It was more detailed than Wikipedia, but gave the impression of being copied from the Internet.

There are connections.  Georg von Trapp is the father in the musical, Sound of Music.  He was an officer in the navy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  He was in China and was commended for bravery during a battle in the Boxer Rebellion.  It is conceivable that he was stationed in Pola, down the coast from Trieste, in 1904 or 1905.  If so, he could have met James Joyce, possibly, even being taught English by the author.

It turns out he was competent as a commander.  Here are some of the panels from the exhibition showing the exploits of the submarine division and their personnel.  I have highlighted some of the references to C.te Von Trapp.

IMG_2706 IMG_2703


About c_in_b

The journey of a single step begins with ideas of a thousand miles.
This entry was posted in memory, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sound of Music in Trieste

  1. The Designated Liar says:

    I have been occupied by other matters these last few weeks and did not realize, until the best half asked me about it, that I have not visited these pages for quite some time. What a pleasant surprise to find that you have tracked down this slender filament to an overlooked past. And Joyce and von Trapp! An intriguing conjunction in history. Perhaps they never met but maybe they have walked the same street once and have eyed each other from opposite sides as carriages and the occasional motorcar whizzed by between them. “Ha! There’s a strange fellow”, as each one’s singular personality quietly lifted them up and out from the crowd. This is the stuff of historical fiction. (Although James Joyce’s vision might have already been so bad that he would not have noticed anything at that distance.)

    Speaking of historical fiction and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, might I suggest to those who might be so inclined, the novelist John Biggins and his Otto Prohaska series about the lives and adventures of a submarine captain in the A-H navy:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s