The open-air operetta “Zeltinger-Himmelreich” is staged by locals every two years in the historical market square of Zeltingen.
Which village can claim to have its own operetta? Zeltingen-Rachtig can. Not an operetta of world renown, but a work with sparkling melodies, which is performed by the citizens of Zeltingen-Rachtig with a good portion of mother wit, humour and self-irony. All amateur players, by the way, who pursue their professions during the day - most of them work in winegrowing. The wine also plays the leading role in the operetta. The year is 1780, and the winegrowers in the Cologne Electoral Office in Zeltingen-Rachtig rise up against their sovereign, the Elector of Cologne. They no longer want to pay the tithe, which is to be paid annually in the form of wine from the excellent Zeltingen vineyards "Zeltinger Himmelreich, Schloßberg Sonnenuhr and Deutschherrenberg". They let the elector know that the wine was so sour this year that it could not possibly be served at court. When all of a sudden an envoy of the elector appears to convince himself of the quality of the wine, the excitement is understandably great. But with a little trick the smart winemakers manage to fool the inspector. And of course a love story should not be missing in the operetta. The operetta originated in the 50's, when Zeltingen-Rachtig announced a song competition. The well-known wine location "Zeltinger Himmelreich" was to be sung according to the will of the council. The victorious composer Werner Stamm won three weeks' holiday in Zeltingen-Rachtig - and he liked it there so much that he immediately wrote an entire operetta about the life of a winegrower and about an almost true event at the end of the 18th century. In 1955, more precisely on January 5th 1955, the premiere took place in the hall of the Hotel Nicolay zur Post and in the meantime several performances are given every two years. Since 1980 the open-air stage has been located on the market place of Zeltingen, which is also the location of the action - it couldn't be more authentic.