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Reformation 2017

Luther ‘pop-Oratorium’ starts with great success in Germany

The opening night filled a stadium in Dortmund (Germany). A 3,200-strong choir is key of the musical written by prominent musical producers. 

SOURCES, Deutsche Welle, EKD AUTHOR Evangelical Focus Dortmund 10 NOVEMBER 2015 11:18 h GMT+1
dortmund, luther oratorium General view of the stadium in Dortmund during the Luther musical performance. / Luther Oratorium

About 16,000 people attended the premiere of “Luther”, the musical propelled by the Reformed Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) which united 12 professional singers and a massive choir of 3,200 people.

Only the choir filled the seats of one of the curves of the stadium in the Dortmund Westfallen arena, a massive group of people that had been practicing the songs separately in regional meetings for several months.


Detailed image of the choir. / Luther Oratorium

For two hours, the “pop-Oratorium” went through Martin Luther’s life: his efforts to bring a Reformation to the church in the beginning of the 16th century, his doubts and fears, and his trial in Worms.

Responsible for the show were well-known musical producer Dieter Falk (known for working with many of the German pop stars) and written by Michael Kunze, author of more than 200 top-ten hits in the country. Both had previously worked together in “The Ten Commandments”, another musical show propelled by the EKD and which had good reviews back in 2010.


Luther's doubts about his salvation are also portrayed. / Luther Oratorium



The main role of the Reformator was played by actor Frank Winkels. As many others, he was overwhelmed: “I am very relieved after it went so well. In the Premiere one always has stage fright. The crowd engaged with us from the opening song. This really gave us a ‘push’. Of course it is amazing to sing with such a choir. I would have loved to see it from the stands. It is a shame that we are only having our next performance in 2017.”


Actor Frank Winkels plays reformator Martin Luther. / Luther Oratorium

The musical’s premiere was actually a one-off performance to introduce it to the media and record it, but live performances in German cities will happen in the line of the Reformation Anniversary celebrations in 2017, starting in Hannover, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf.



Among the attendants in this first presentation were the President of the German Parliament, Norbert Lammert, who thought the public was “engaged from the first song”, and Health Minister Hermann Gröhe, who thought it had been “a great evening, which in addition had depth in its content.”


The tour will begin in 2017.

Martin Bartelworth, of the “Creative Church” foundation responsible to drive the project, was very encouraged after seeing the reaction of many. “It has been a long way of preparations, and today we experienced the highlight moment.”

He thought the musical “had achieved to bring 500 years of history to our current context. I have seen many fascinated faces and have spoken to people who were deeply touched after the performance.”



Many media covered the event, and German Public television Deutsche Welle broadcasted a 5-minute long report on the premiere.

The “Luther” project will also cooperate promoting the charity projects of the Chritoffel Mission for blind people.




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