VIVACE system turns the Passion Play Theater in Oberammergau into an opera house


Successful Summer Festival with Verdi's Opera Nabucco

The story of the Oberammergau Passion Play began in 1633 during the Thirty Years' War. After months of suffering from the plague and a high death toll, the population of Oberammergau vowed to stage "a play of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years from then on. Subsequently, the plague subsided and the vow was kept with a first performance in 1634. Initially, the play was staged on the graveyard near the parish church; in 1830, a new stage was built on the site of today's theater.

About 100 years later, the open-air stage as we know it today was built. Since then, it has been renovated and technically upgraded several times, and the approx. 4,800 seats now are roofed. Every ten years, the Oberammergau Passion Play is performed – for the 41st time in the year 2010 with more than 2,000 amateur actors from Oberammergau and an audience of 500,000 from all over the world.

In the meantime, there also is a regular summer festival at the Oberammergau Passion Play Theater. Some years ago, festival director Christian Stückl initiated this festival taking place in the years between the Passion Plays, and last year, Nabucco by Verdi was the first opera production staged.

Since the Passion Play in 2010, the electroacoustic room enhancement system VIVACE has been used for achieving a high-class sound reinforcement preserving localization for the actors and for creating an impressive acoustic effect for the accompanying musical passages. With the first opera production, the acoustics and – unperceived by the audience – the features of the sound reinforcement system have become the focus of attention. Both the audience and critics were rapturous.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote: "Moved to tears, we would almost not have been able to do what we wanted to do: shake the foundations of the Passion Play Theater with our applause." "The first in-house opera production has shown that Oberammergau now is a fully-fledged member in the 'orchestra' of festival venues", according to the Südwest Presse. Not least because of its great success, Nabucco will be restaged starting August 5, 2016 – the VIVACE system is installed and ready.

Nabucco Oberammergau 2016
© Arno Declair

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