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Elche Misteri Play

The Mystery Play of Elche, known as El Misteri d'Elx, is the only medieval play which has been kept alive until today. It is a chanted play about the ascension, assumption and coronation of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The play takes place inside the cathedral, the Basilica de Santa Maria, and is preformed by male non professional singers and choir students. They are all men, including the part of Mary, because in the Middle Ages it was forbidden for women to participate in plays. The music comes from several periods and styles, combining medieval, baroque and renaissance melodies. On the 18th May 2001 UNESCO declared el Misteri one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The play can be enjoyed between the 11th and 15th August every year. The complete play is preformed on the 11th, 12th and 13th and tickets for these must be brought in advance. On the 14th the first part of the play is preformed and on the 15th the second part. Both of these shows are free to watch and seating is allocated on a first come, first served basis with people turning up 3 hours or so before the start for a front row seat.
Each performance is slightly different as some less important scenes are included or excluded. The average audience member would not really notice the difference! However the night of the 15th of August is the only night that the crown is actually placed on Mary's head after she has ascended to heaven.
Tickets are available either online from the InstantTicket or from the ticket booth at the Casa de la Festa. Major de la Vila street, no. 23, from 10:00-13:00 and 17:00-20:00 Monday to Friday. They go on sale about 3 months in advance and cost from 7-56€ depending on the location of the seat.
The dates for the 2019 edition of the Misteri Play is:
  • Sunday 11th August 22:30 Complete Play (tickets needed)
  • Monday 12th August 22:30 Complete Play (tickets needed)
  • Tuesday 13th August 17:30 Complete Play (tickets needed)
  • Wednesday 14th August 18:00 Act 1 only (free)
  • Thursday 15th August 18:00 Act 2 only plus actual crowning of Mary (free)
For more information, in Spanish and a great selection of videos and photos take a look at the official website.
Misteri Play Elche UNESCO masterpiece oral heritage 11th-15th August 2019