Greed may cast a pall over 2010 Passion Play in Oberammergau

Bookings for the 2010 Passion Play in Oberammergau continue at a fast clip, but will there actually be anyone at the show? The tickets are being reserved by big tour companies, who have hopes of reselling them (at a profit, of course) to the end user. Word on the street in Bavaria is that while this is the most expensive Passion Play of the last four centuries, it might also be the biggest bust. While many tickets have been snapped up, the owners of those tour companies who bought them just might be begging friends and relatives to buy them at face value. I’ve been told by a source here in Germany that some tour companies, saddled with many hundreds of prepaid tickets without buyers, need those non-refundable deposits in order to make payroll. The common man and woman seem to be staying away in droves and I wonder if it has more to do with the disgustingly high ticket prices, or the economic condition.

In case someone forgot to tell the organizers, we’re in a global financial meltdown. “The Great Recession,” I saw that on a newspaper and thought it was a pretty good description for what we’re enduring. And yet, ticket prices are at an all-time high. Witnessing Christ’s Passion will set you back at least $550 for a night’s lodging, a couple of meals and a seat in the less-than-desirable section of the new auditorium. Better seats and accommodations will cost you nearly twice as much. And this is for one performance, and basically one day in Oberammergau. (You can only hope it’s actually sleeping in Oberammergau. Hotels, Gasthauses and B&Bs for many miles around have been bought out lock stock and barrel by the tour companies.)

Forget about just showing up to see the play. If you haven’t made your arrangements by now, you’ll most likely have to wait until 2020. I have a real issue with this hyper inflation of the cost of seeing this performance. The costs are roughly triple what they were in 2000, the big Jubilee Year when millions of people flocked to Europe to celebrate the millenium. It is, after all, just a play for pete’s sake and Jesus will not be making a cameo appearance. Actually, I don’t think Jesus could be very happy about what the good people of Oberammergau, who promised in the middle of the 1600s to put on a play to give thanks for being spared by the plague, are charging for the story of his greatest sacrifice.

Special note to those planning to visit Munich in 2010 – hotels have tripled their rates, mainly due to the Passion Play in nearby Oberammergau. God Bless Capitalism.

Posted in Private Tours in Europe.