About the Oberammergau Passion Play
A play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat, and so began the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1633. In the midst of the horror of the 30 years’ war, the dreaded plague swept across Europe. High in the Bavarian Alps, the citizens of Oberammergau attempted to seal themselves off from the outside world. When a homesick young man sneaked into the village and brought the pestilence with him, 84 residents died within 3 weeks. In desperation, the town council made a solemn vow that if God would stop the plague, out of gratitude, they would present a play depicting the life and suffering of Christ for the duration of their existence. Miraculously, the plague took no more lives in the town. True to their word, the villagers performed their first play in 1634, and have continued to do so to this day.
The first Passion Play performance was held over the graves of the Black Death victims. This location was used until 1820. Not until 1820 was a stage constructed at the site of the present-day Passion Play Theatre. In 1820, a reconstructions was carried out. The structure at this time consisted of six steel arch supports. By 1930, the new construction of the open-air stage was completed by Georg Johann Lang and Raimund Lang. The original seat consisting of simple rows of benches were replaced by theatre seating and now offered a seating capacity of 5,200. In 1999, 15 million dollars were spent on upgrades such as making the facility wheelchair accessible, as well as new fire prevention measures and stage techniques were modernized. The newly renovated theatre, with its 4,720 covered seats, now offers a world-wide audience maximum comfort and safety.
The Passion Play is performed every 10 years in the city of Oberammergau, Germany. The play takes place out doors where the sky and mountains are the back drop. A wonderful spectacle of pageantry. World renown for the costumes and music presentation. Now, more than 2,000 citizens make up the actors, singers, instrumentalists and stage technicians that bring the play to life in approximately six hours of playing time. The year 2022 marks the 42nd time the story will be presented in Oberammergau. The play comprises spoken dramatic text, musical and choral accompaniment and tableaux vivants. The tableaux vivants are scenes from the Old Testament depicted for the audience by motionless actors accompanied by verbal description. These scenes are the basis for the relationship between the Old and New Testament, of the play. They include a scene of the brothers selling Joseph into slavery in Egypt, and Moses raising up the bronze serpent in the wilderness. The remainder of the performance is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Christ: the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ.
Although the play is in German, you won’t have an issue understanding what is happening during the play, and the music is powerful. The music was written back in 1779 by Rochus Dedler. The music has influences of Mozart and Haydn. Some have compared it to being as romantic and expressive as pieces by Schubert or Weber. Although there have been slight adaptations over the years, it is still based on the original score. There is both an orchestra made up of 60 musicians and a choir which help bring all of the emotion and scenes to live.
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Passion Play Times & Information
- The Passion Play operates for 5 months from May through October.
- Date of performances are every day except for Mondays and Wednesdays.
- The play will start at 2:30 pm and end at 10:30 pm every day. It is only one play each day with an intermission of 3 hours for dinner. So part 1 will be from 2.30 pm to 5 pm and part 2 from 8 pm to 10.30 pm.
- The play runs for approximately five or five and a half hours with an intermission of three hours. A meal is served during the intermission of the play. Audiences come from all over the world, often on packaged tours. We offer over 38 itineraries that travel to Oberammergau.
- First performance of the Passion Play is May 21st, 2022
- The closing of the last performance of the 42nd Annual Passion Play is October 2022
- The 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play will be postponed due to the current situation caused by the corona pandemic. The basis for this is a decision of the district administration of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which prohibits the performance of the event planned. The health of our guests and participants is our highest priority, therefore the responsible persons have decided to postpone the premiere of the Passion Play.
Oberammergau Council Chose the 2022 Production Team
The producer: Christian Stückl
The conductors: Markus Zwink
The designer: Stefan Hageneier
Deputy director: Abdullah Kenan Karaca
Exact Schedule will be decided in early 2017. Estimated:
First performance: 21st May, 2022
Last performance: October, 2022
In between each scene during the performance, there are “Living Tableaus,” where live actors come on with intricate sets of the Old Testament. Actors with smaller parts dress in greyish blue costumes and the 36 main actors where mostly white costumes so they are easily distinguished on stage. The actors who are tied to the crosses have to stay in that position for more than an hour.
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 1 – Deluxe hotels with Category 1A Tickets
Deluxe hotels are spacious and nicely furnished. Ammenities include safe, minibar, tv & internet access.
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.