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31 March 2022
Dear Educational Traveller,  

Over the last two years, we have all experienced disappointments, disruptions and cancellations, and it seems that perhaps we may not completely return to a full sense of ‘normality’. However, international borders are now gradually re-opening and airlines are increasing their flights. As a consequence, many of us are already starting to think that travel may be possible for us in 2022.

Nowhere is this sense of eager anticipation greater than in the small and stunningly scenic Bavarian village of Oberammergau. The 2020 Passion Play, which celebrates the village’s historic deliverance from a 17th-century plague, was abruptly postponed by our own modern-day pandemic. Here, in the Ammer Valley, history is now repeating itself in an optimistic sense: hair is growing long again; costumes are being fitted; sets are being re-built; and parts are once more being rehearsed.

Visitors are again making plans to travel to this spectacular event from all over the world, so that the task falls to this tiny village to take its history as a model, to draw creativity from the crisis and to recreate the fascination of the Oberammergau Passion Play once again for us all.


Oberammergau Passion Play - Jesus arrives in Jerusalem

Following the popular demand for 2020, we at Golden Compass Tours have decided we do not want to miss the opportunity to partake in the re-scheduled 2022 world-famous Passion Play in Oberammergau. This will mark the third occasion that Golden Compass Tours has taken groups to the Passion Play. We are very excited as our contacts in the village have informed us that rehearsals for this culturally important and probably once-in-a-lifetime event (the next performance will not take place until 2030!) have recommenced, with its 150 actors entrusted with speaking roles by director, Christian Stückl, coming together to rehearse their parts. In addition to the 42 double-casted principal actors, in roles such as Jesus, Mary, Judas, Caiaphas and Pilate, all the minor roles including the Apostles, the Roman and Jewish soldiers, the High Council and the women in the wake of Jesus were also present at these rehearsals.


Stefan Hageneier, Christian Stückl and Markus Zwink

We have been told that in recent months Stückl has further revised his comprehensive edit of the text for the 2020 Passion Play. In the tradition of the Passion Play, the story of Jesus has always been the focus of the performance. In this year’s production Stückl emphasises the social aspects of Jesus' work at the margins of society: His commitment to the forgotten, the displaced and the poor.

A number of the larger rehearsals have already taken place on the stage of the Passion Play Theatre. The stage and costume designer, Stefan Hageneier, has tweaked yet again his design of the sets for this production and has created new costumes for the more than 2,000 actors. The musical director, Markus Zwink, has also continued to revise parts of the passion music and composed new pieces of music for this year's production, which are currently being rehearsed by the choir and the orchestra.
 


Orchestra Rehersals

As you can see, the entire community of this tiny and atmospherically beautiful Alpine village of Oberammergau is intimately involved in all aspects of this production, which is a truly significant, awe-inspiring and moving religious and cultural event, not to be missed.

At Golden Compass, we too have been making careful preparations for this normally ten-yearly event and have secured some very comfortable accommodation for our comprehensive stay within the pretty village of Oberammergau itself, along with tickets for excellent seats for the Passion Play performance.

Your understanding of the Passion Play and the colourful events in the village will be further enhanced by your Golden Compass Program Leader, Mark Goodwin, who is a fluent German speaker and has attended many more Passion Plays in Oberammergau than even he can remember!


Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Mark will once more be leading our popular Hapsburg Cities with Oberammergau tour, which features the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and Bavaria including, of course, the Oberammergau Passion Play. This tour explores the great cities of the Hapsburgs, the golden trio of Vienna, Prague and Budapest, which influenced not only the body politic but also the awesome outpouring of creativity from composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Liszt and Dvorak to Smetena, Bartok and Janacek. During this tour we consider the great works of art and outstanding architectural heritage of these cities, as well as the impressive Bavarian capital, Munich. This tour allows us to listen to some impressive music and to view many outstanding works of art.

Of the Hapsburg cities, Prague is often considered the jewel in the crown with its UNESCO listed architecture. We explore Budapest’s great Neo-Gothic buildings and the Neo-Classical splendours of Vienna. We also discover the Slovak capital, Bratislava, another of the great, elegant Hapsburg cities, with a charming mediaeval old town dominated by a hilltop castle overlooking the Danube. We also stay in the charming Austrian lakes district to visit elegant Salzburg.


Budapest Parliament, Hungary

Our tour, which includes the Oberammergau Passion Play, commences in late August, towards the end of the European summer.

If you wish to combine this tour with further adventures in Europe, it is designed so that you can explore more of Germany with Mark on our Highlights of Germany and / or join Hugh Morgan in Southern Italy on our Taste of Campania. Alternatively, you could enjoy some great British culture by joining Mark, prior to Oberammergau, on our Summer of British Showstoppers.

With such high demand for the Passion Play, we have extremely limited spaces on our special Oberammergau departure, so please do get in touch to secure your place on this special tour. Contact us today and reserve your seat at the 2022 Oberammergau Passion Play!

 

Do join me on this exciting tour of the heartland of the erstwhile Hapsburg Empire, where we discover its legacy of art, architecture and music, enjoy stunning scenery and delicious local food and wine, not to mention the Passion Play.
 

With best wishes,

Mark Goodwin

Golden Compass Program Leader

 

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The Hapsburg Cities with Oberammergau:

25 August - 13 September 2022

The great cities of the Hapsburgs were the golden trio of Vienna, Prague and Budapest, which influenced not only the body politic but also the awesome outpouring of creativity from composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Liszt and Dvorak to Smetena, Bartok and Janacek.

 



Inclusive of field trips, local guides, gratuities and many meals.