Saturday, January 16, 2010
With only 4 months to go before the first performance on May 15, 2010, travel packages to Oberammergau are selling fast. Performed once every 10 years, Oberammergau’s Passion Play is a part of history you don’t want to miss!
Here you will find an overview of the most frequently asked questions and important facts you should know before selecting a passion play package.
Where is Oberammergau?
Located about 60 miles southwest of Munich, Germany, Oberammergau is surrounded by majestic mountains and picturesque meadows. This peaceful, unspoiled village is well known not only for the warm hospitality its residents extend to visitors from around the world but also for its Passion Play, performed by the locals just once a decade.
How did it all get started?
In 1634, the Black Death decimated Europe’s population. Oberammergau remained untouched until a homesick villager returned one night, unknowingly bringing with him the dreaded plague. Almost 100 villagers died as a result. Frightened survivors vowed that if God saved them from the plague, once every 10 years they would reenact the agony and crucifixion of Christ. From then on, there were no further deaths from the plague—and the villagers have fulfilled their pledge ever since. Over the centuries, their faith and commitment have been recognized and admired around the world, drawing people from all religious backgrounds and cultures to observe this amazing performance.
Can you tell me more about the Play?
The Passion Play portrays the Passion of Christ—from the entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. Performances are held in an open air stage framed by magnificent alpine scenery. The play only runs May through September 2010. There are no performances on Mondays and Wednesdays. The play is performed in German, and a written outline is provided in English. Why attend if you can’t understand the language? Like opera, this is an appreciate for the arts. You don’t have to understand the words to feel the passion in the performance and the musical score. Let’s not forget the amazing scenery. The open air theatre has the Alpine mountains as it’s backdrop. Anyone can appreciate the experience complete with the beautiful setting, choir, orchestra and hand made, exquisite costumes.
The performances begin at 2:30 pm, break at 5 pm for 3 hours, and then resume until 10.30 pm. The play consists of more than 2,000 actors, singers, musicians, and technicians with rehearsals starting at least a year before the event. Villagers also make all the costumes for the production and, as no wigs are used, participants must grow their hair and beards for up to a year prior to the performances. The Passion Play demonstrates an impressive community effort, both, the production team and the cast are from Oberammergau or have lived there for at least 20 years.
The Passion Play Theatre has 4,720 total seats. All offer a good view of the stage from all seating categories, & the acoustics in the theatre are excellent. Many improvements have been made over the years including under-flooring heating, accessibility for wheelchairs, plenty of bathrooms and a museum. Seating is covered to rain is not a factor for those attending. Oberammergau is 800 meters in altitude and in the Alps, so we suggest you bring a sweater or blanket it can get cold. It may even snow during the month of September.
What type of packages are available?
Tickets only are sold out. You must buy the tickets in conjunction with a hotel stay, tour or cruise. There are several types of vacations to choose from. For those that do not want a long trip, our most popular packages are the Globus Oberammergau Highlights 4 day/3 night package featuring the Passion Play priced from $2,140 pp and the Gate 1 – 5 day/4 night Affordable Munich and Passion Play, priced from $1,499 pp. Escorted tours range from 8 to 24 days where you can focus on just Germany or Central Europe, visit various countries, or even include Italy. Offered for the first time in 2010, you can also combine a river cruise with the Passion Play. River cruises offer comfort, convenience and variety. The ship is both a hotel and a means of transportation. You don’t have to get up early like you do when on a traditional tour or cruise to see the sites. Your ship will be in a new and exciting place every day.
Where will I be sitting for the performance?:
Tickets for the Passion Play 2010 are only available as part of an official package. The tickets are allocated together with the accommodation by the the tour companies. There is a direct correlation to the type of hotel you stay in along with the tickets for the play. The better quality hotels come with the better seats for the performance.
The plan of the theatre included shows the seating layout & the corresponding ticket categories, so if you want the best tickets, make sure that you are booking a tour that offers Category 1A seating.
Please note, tickets are not given in advance, and there is no guarantee exactly what row or seat you will be in, just the Category is known at the time of booking. Your tickets will be issued to you upon arrival in Europe by your tour guide. Make sure you book with a reputable tour operator to avoid disappointment and to insure you are getting what you paid for.
Categories for accommodations are chosen after a thorough inspection of all rooms. They are based solely on the degree of space & furnishings provided & not by the stars assigned to it by the German Hotel Classifications. In some locations rooms may be assigned in different categories.
HC 2 – Superior First Class 4+-star Hotel with Category 1A Tickets
Superior Hotels with cozy furnishings and spacious rooms. Each room has its own private bathroom and a corner seating area. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, Internet access, hair dryer, toiletries, and bathrobes on request.
HC 3 -First Class 4-star Hotel with Category 1 Tickets
Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, and toiletries.
HC 4 – Tourist Class 3-star Hotel with Category 2 Tickets
Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a T.V.
Please note: The accommodation categories for the Oberammergau Passion Play 2010 have been graded by the Passion Play Committee and are based on the size and furnishings of the rooms; they do not, however, comply with the star ratings allocated to the establishments by the official German hotel classification. Some accommodation establishments may also offer rooms.
On a final note, if you haven’t booked yet, try to be flexible. Many dates are sold out, but more importantly at times you can get better airfare rates if you are willing to be open to a few departures dates. Book with a reputable company and review everything in writing before you put any money on the reservation. Make sure to book a guaranteed departure, especially if you are booking your own airfare. If you don’t see exactly what you want, just ask! We try to accommodate any request if at all possible. For instance, one customer wanted to see the Shroud of Turin exposition running April 10th through May 23rd, and we were able to combine a 3 day package in conjunction with a Passion Play tour.