Grand Rapids, MI (PressExposure) March 01, 2009 -- In 1634 the Bavarian Mountain village of Oberammergau, Germany was facing the devastating plague called the âBlack Deathâ that had decimated large parts of Europe. The citizens of Oberammergau pledged to perform a play every 10 years, portraying the âpassionâ or suffering of Christ, if their town would be spared from further casualties. The first play was performed on a stage set up in the cemetery, above the graves of those already lost to the plague. The townâs chronicles relate that, from this day on, there were no further victims of the plague.
In 1680, the play was moved to the first year of each decade. In the early 1800âs, music was added and today a choir and orchestra enhance the performance. A special theater was constructed in the center of Oberammergau. More than 1500 adults and 500 children are typically involved, with elaborate costumes and stage settings. In 2010, the residents of this small village in southern Germany take to the stage once again for this grand production portraying the Passion of Christ.
With performances only once every ten years from May through September, the demand for tickets to the Oberammergau Passion Play is extreme. Tickets go on sale two years in advance. Michigan-based Image Tours Inc. still has availability for select Europe tour departures including the 2010 Oberammergau Passion Play. Clients can choose from the 15-Day Heart of EuropeÂ® Tour, 22-Day Heart of EuropeÂ® Grand Tour, 14-Day Germany-Austria-Switzerland Tour, 13-Day Treasures of Italy Tour, or the 9-Day Scenic Alpine Tour. For prices, dates and more information on these Europe tours, contact a travel agent, go on line at http://www.imagetours.com, or call 1-800-964-3170.
Image Tours was founded in 1939 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The company began U.S. operations in 1960, with the belief that everyone, at least once in their lifetime, should experience the rich beauty, culture, and history of Europe. The company designs, markets, and operates escorted tours of Europe, with the Oberammergau Passion Play as one of the most anticipated events of each decade.
According to Justin Osbon, Image Tours Inc Sales Representative, âClients interested in the Oberammergau Passion Play should purchase their tickets early in 2009 for the best pricing and selection of dates. Oberammergau Passion Play tickets have been known to sell out a year in advance.â
As it has been from the beginning, all the actors in the Oberammergau Passion Play are local townspeople. One year prior to the performance, the actors start rehearsals and begin growing their hair to ensure that the characters in the play look as realistic as possible. The theater seating is under cover, but the stage is in the open air with the beautiful Bavarian mountains to complete the backdrop. The actors will perform come rain or shine, with the exception of extreme weather conditions. This is truly an extraordinary event taking place in an idyllic setting.
Oberammergau is a storybook village of southern Germany, in the state of Bavaria, renowned for its natural alpine splendor, convivial atmosphere, and warm hospitality. Oberammergau lies about 45 miles to the southeast of Munich. This is a romantic setting, situated in a wide valley surrounded by unspoiled mountains, lakes, meadows and forests. The village has succeeded in preserving its medieval character, complete with farmsteads, lovely chalets adorned with pastoral paintings, and woodcarverâs workshops. Craftsmanship is a tradition in Oberammergau, where, for almost 1000 years, the inhabitants have produced wood carvings, wax figures, and cut glass.