Oberammergau 2020

The stage of the theatre is open with the seating covered

The party which is forming to go to see the Passion Play at Oberammergau next year is now up to 24, and there are - I am aware - more people interested in going, so I have applied for a few additional tickets, and so today, I know that at least another six people are able to join the group.  We have been asked to more or less finalise numbers by the end of February, so there are a few weeks to go, but we are at the stage now that I would recommend not leaving it too much longer, I you would like to come.


We fly from Gatwick to Munich on Wednesday 17th June 2020 and have a three-hour drive to Imst in the Western Tyrol.  The following Saturday we drive for an hour and half to Oberammergau and see the play that afternoon and evening, staying overnight in the village and returning to Imst on the Sunday, where we have another three nights before our flight home on Wednesday 24th June.  


Although it is still over a year away, this is a trip and programme that has to be sorted out in good time, as it is dependent on the availability of play tickets and the accommodation in Oberammergau itself.  Having led parties in both 2000 and 2010, I am aware of the amazing experience that seeing the play provides.  The trip does have more of a holiday feel to it than a Holy Land pilgrimage, and the time in the Tyrol is largely sight-seeing or free time, according to what people choose to do, but by seeing the play in the middle of the week away, we shall have time to prepare for it beforehand, and a chance to reflect on it afterwards.


Looking at my diary entry of 27th June 2010, I read fairly random comments of how I spent the day of the play - though they do give a bit of a flavour of the occasion.  We had arrived in Oberammergau the night before, staying in a farmhouse:


“We had our breakfast - boiled eggs were in a basket covered with a cloth - I had to have one - I hope they are their own!  We walked up the road and into the meadows.  The wild flowers are amazing; lots of rattle, but large yellow daisy-like flowers on foot-long stalks, and many fine grasses.  There is a bee house, with the bee-lines across the road and onto our path.  They are very active already and it is not nine o’clock.  There are cows down in the meadow below the house, and starlings chattering and swallows flitting by - it is heavenly in the warm sunshine and everyone seems to be happy……


We are now just back from the first half of the Passion Play.  It was excellent and the singing superb. I suppose the highlights as I remember them from this half would be the whole Palm Sunday scene, Jesus with the woman taken in adultery, some of the solo singing, especially the soprano and the bass, and the instrumental music, which is wonderful.  None of the cast seem to have any jewellery on - even wedding rings.  The costumes are much plainer this time, with the choir in matching full-length robes, with tight sleeves coming down over their hands.  The material is tapestry-like weight, but even the embroidery, if it is such, is white as well.  The head-dresses cover their foreheads and hair….


after the meal ….  we went back for the second half.  Once again the music and players were excellent.  The instrumentalists came across the stage to the pit so that we could applaud them …. we took the bus, arriving back at 11.40 p.m.  A very long, but very wonderful day.”


Remember, after next year, it will be 2030 before the Oberammergau Passion Play is performed again!


John Mann