In 2020, the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau will host the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play. Oberammergau sprawls along the pretty Ammer River valley in the alpine region of Upper Bavaria, 90 minutes southwest of Munich. The Ammergau mountains look down on the village has grown steadily since its inhabitants first performed their now-world-renowned Passion Play in 1634. ALOA…Adult Lutherans Organized for Action…is pleased to announce an 11-Day Italian tour including Rome, Florence, Venice and featuring the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play!
The Passion Play is held every ten years, in years ending with a zero – so the next is in 2020. The play was first put on at the town cemetery, after an epidemic of bubonic plague starting in 1633 had touched nearly every family. Local people vowed to perform the Passion Play, showing the story of Christ’s suffering and death, if they were spared any more deaths. The deaths stopped, and they have kept their promise to perform it every decade since. The only change to the timing was in 1680, to move the date to the present arrangement of “zero” years.
The play itself has evolved in line with the style of its times, from a simple Reformation Tragedy through an elaborate Baroque interpretation to the present-day more theatrical version. The theatre has also evolved, from the temporary staging over a plague pit of 1634 to the latest modern one that holds 5,000 spectators for each night of the five-month-long run from May to October. The stage can support 800 cast members and remains open-air, even as comfort and shelter has improved for the always sold-out audience. The most important thing to remain constant is the fact that the play is performed by local people. Only those born in Oberammergau, married to a local for ten years or resident for 20 years can take part. There are roles for around half of the town’s 5,300 inhabitants, some 1,000 as actors and the rest taking on tasks such as musicians, costume makers or backstage staff. The play bonds the community and families, with up to four generations possibly taking part at any one time. Roles often run in the family and some families can trace their participation back for centuries. Musicians and singers have to be trained from among the townsfolk, so any child with musical talent is nurtured from an early age. Few towns of such a size can have as many active choirs and orchestras.
Join ALOA for this all-inclusive trip including roundtrip transatlantic airfare, first class hotel accommodations, breakfasts and dinners, sightseeing in every destination, entrance fees to all attractions, and guaranteed tickets at the world famous Passion Play in Oberammergau.
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