Enjoy nine performances at northern Europe’s leading venues, including two at the Bergen International Festival, on this 17-day tour. The performance program is complemented by visits to leading galleries, such as Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, visits to several of the historic cities of the Hanseatic League, and the sublime scenery of Norway. Musical history, background talks on performances, contemporary architecture – from the Elbphilharmonie, to Renzo Piano’s Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo and Henning Larsen’s Copenhagen Opera House – and fine dining round out the program.
Fine performances in some of northern Europe’s newest venues, including Hamburg’s stunning Elbphilharmonie
The Bergen International Festival, Norway’s most significant and dynamic performing arts fair
Contemporary architecture and urban rejuvenation powered by the arts: Renzo Piano, Henning Larsen, Herzog & de Meuron
The influence of the Scandinavian landscape on the music of this region
Great cities of the Hanseatic League: Bremen, Lübeck, Hamburg and Bergen
Nine performances of opera, orchestral music and chamber music are included.
A concert by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, and featuring pianists Lucas and Arthur Jussen
A recital by master pianist Grigory Sokolov
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, starring Elena Stikhina as Butterfly
Puccini’s La fanciulla del West, conducted by Josep Caballé-Domenech, with star soprano Anja Kampe as Minnie
A concert by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, conducted by Paavo Järvi, Hanna-Elisabeth Müller as soloist
Puccini’s Tosca at the Copenhagen Opera House, with Maria Pia Piscitelli singing the title role
Rossini’s La Cenerentola starring Norwegian mezzo soprano Tone Kummervold and American tenor Taylor Stayton
Two performances at the Bergen International Festival
Days 1–4: Arrive in Amsterdam, tour the historic centre and visit the Rijksmuseum.
Days 5–8: Visit Bremen en route to Hamburg, attend performances at the spectacular Elbphilharmonie. Explore the historic centre and harbour of Hamburg and take a day trip to Lübeck.
Days 9–11: Travel to Copenhagen to tour the town and see the famous Tivoli Gardens.
Days 12–13: In Oslo, admire the Renzo Piano designed Astrup Fearnley Museum and the Viking Ship Museum.
Days 14–17: Journey by train and boat to Bergen, where the tour concludes with two performances at the Bergen International Festival.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Etihad offers regular services to Amsterdam and home from Bergen. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the letters B, L, D and C for canapés.
Friday May 10: Arrive Amsterdam
If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel we will organise a transfer from Amsterdam airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the evening meet Robert Gay at the hotel bar for welcome drinks and canapés. Overnight Amsterdam (C)
Saturday May 11: Amsterdam – Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
After a talk on this evening’s performance by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, we take a guided walking tour through the historic heart of this fascinating city which, at the beginning of the 17th century, grew from being just one of the many trading towns of the Low Countries into the cultural and economic centre of the Dutch Republic. We have a welcome lunch in a local restaurant, then the later afternoon is at leisure before this evening’s performance at the Concertgebouw. Overnight Amsterdam (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Concertgebouw Program: Works by Ligeti and Bartók, and Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ Performers: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Joshua Weilerstein (conductor), Lucas and Arthur Jussen (pianos)
Sunday May 12: The Hague and Delft – Grigory Sokolov
Today we take a full day excursion to The Hague and Delft, visiting the impressive collection of art works in the charming Mauritshuis before continuing on in the early afternoon to the delightful town of Delft where we have free time for lunch. Returning to Amsterdam, we attend a piano recital by one of the ‘greats’ of the piano repertoire, Grigory Sokolov. Overnight Amsterdam (B)
Performance details Venue: Concertgebouw Program: to be announced Performers: Grigory Sokolov (piano)
Monday May 13: Rijksmuseum – Madama Butterfly
After a talk on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, which we will see in a fascinating, stylised staging by the celebrated American director Robert Wilson, we head to the Rijksmuseum which contains an incomparable collection of Dutch masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Ruisdael, Franz Hals and many more. In the afternoon there is time to relax before this evening’s opera. Overnight Amsterdam (B)
Performance details Venue: Dutch National Opera Program: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly Performers: Elena Stikhina (Butterfly), Enkelejda Shkosa (Suzuki), Gianluca Terranova (F.B. Pinkerton), Residentie Orchestra The Hague, Ching-Lien Wu (conductor)
Tuesday May 14: To Hamburg via Bremen
Today we depart for Hamburg via Bremen, Germany’s oldest coastal town and second largest port (Hamburg is the largest). Together with Hamburg and Lübeck, Bremen was an early member of the merchant-run Hanseatic League, and its rivalry with the larger port on the Elbe River is still tangible. We take a guided tour of the town before continuing on to Hamburg. Dinner this evening is in our hotel. Overnight Hamburg (B, D)
Wednesday May 15: Hamburg – La Fanciulla del West
Situated on the river Elbe, Hamburg is home to Europe’s second-largest port and the second-largest city of Germany. Hamburg is a progressive city with attractive architecture, world-class museums and art galleries, as well as an assortment of grand theatres and music venues. The recently completed Elbphiharmonie, a futuristic concert hall, is now its centrepiece. After a morning guided tour of the city, the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we see the Hamburg State Opera’s production of Puccini’s La fanciulla del West starring soprano Anja Kampe and tenor Claudio Sgura in the leading roles. Overnight Hamburg (B)
Performance details Venue: Hamburg State Opera House Program: Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West Performers: Anja Kampe (Minnie), Claudio Sgura (Jack Rance), Marco Berti (Dick Johnson), Hamburg State Opera Orchestra, Josep Caballé-Domenech (conductor)
Thursday May 16: Kunsthalle Fine Arts Museum – Elbphilharmonie
The Kunsthalle Hamburg is a fine arts museum and one of the largest museums in Germany. It houses one of the few art collections in Germany that covers seven centuries of European art, from the Middle Ages to the present day. This evening we head to the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg to the Elbphilharmonie for tonight’s concert featuring German soprano Hanna-Elisabeth Müller. The Elbphilharmonie is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. The new glassy construction resembles a hoisted sail, water wave or quartz crystal; it sits on top of an old warehouse building near the historical Speicherstadt and is designed by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. Overnight Hamburg (B)
Performance details Venue: Elbphilharmonie Program: works by Berg and Bruckner Performers: NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Paavo Järvi (conductor), Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (soprano)
Friday May 17: Lübeck
The ancient walled city of Lübeck dates back to the 12th century when it was one of the chief strongholds of the powerful Hanseatic merchant league. We take a guided tour of this fascinating small town, followed by some free time to explore its remoter areas. In the later afternoon we return to Hamburg where the evening is at leisure. Overnight Hamburg (B)
Saturday May 18: To Copenhagen
Today we depart Hamburg, heading north-east for Copenhagen. The drive will take most of the day but we will make stops along the way. This evening we have dinner in our hotel. Overnight Copenhagen (B, D)
Sunday May 19: Copenhagen – Tosca
After a talk on today’s performance, the morning is free to relax and explore the nearby palace area and foreshore before taking the ferry to the opera. The Copenhagen Opera House, which is among the most modern in the world, is the home of Scandinavia’s leading opera company with a long tradition and history. We attend an afternoon performance of Tosca with soprano Maria Pia Piscitelli in the title role. In the early evening, we visit the famous Tivoli Gardens which have been beautifully reimagined in recent years. Overnight Copenhagen (B)
Performance details Venue: Copenhagen Opera House Program: Puccini’s Tosca Performers: Maria Pia Piscitelli (Floria Tosca)
Monday May 20: Explore Copenhagen
Today we visit the attractive centre of Copenhagen with a local guide. With a population of just over one million and a stunning harbourside setting, the city is of a perfect scale for visitors. The Copenhagen Opera House, Operaen, is a unique building designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen with commissioned artworks by Danish artists such as Per Arnoldi and Per Kirkeby. This afternoon we take a behind-the-scenes tour of the building to survey its impressive facilities. Overnight Copenhagen (B)
Tuesday May 21: To Oslo
We depart for the airport and our early afternoon flight to Oslo. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel and check in. Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant. Overnight Oslo (B, D)
Wednesday May 22: Viking Ship Museum – La Cenerentola
This morning we take a short ferry ride across Olso Fjord to visit the impressive Viking Ship Museum which contains the 1,200-year-old remains of several Viking boats and other decorative Viking artefacts. The afternoon is free before this evening’s opera, La Cenerentola, at the Oslo Opera House which is dramatically situated on the edge of Oslo fjord. Overnight Oslo (B)
Performance details Venue: Oslo Opera House Program: Rossini’s La Cenerentola Performers: Tone Kummervold (Cenerentola), Taylor Stayton (Prince Ramiro), Edward Nelson (Dandini)
Thursday May 23: Norway in a nutshell
Today we enjoy an iconic journey across Norway’s mountains and fjords to Bergen. The journey begins with a train trip to isolated Myrdal where we transfer to the Flåm Railway for a spectacular 20-kilometre descent to Norway’s Western Fjords. At Flåm we cruise along the Sognefjord, arriving in Bergen in the early evening. Dinner is in our hotel. Overnight Bergen (B, D)
Friday May 24: Grieg’s Villa – Bergen International Festival
After a talk on this evening’s performance we head to Troldhaugen (Valley of the Trolls), the villa built by Norway’s most famous composer Edvard Grieg. The composer lived there with his wife Nina from 1885 until his death in 1907. We tour the house and enjoy a short lunchtime recital of Grieg’s piano music. This evening we attend a festival performance. Overnight Bergen (B)
Performance details to be announced October 2018
Saturday May 25: Ole Bull’s Villa – Bergen international Festival
This morning we travel south of Bergen to Lysøen Island on a remote stretch of coastline. Here the 19th-century virtuoso violinist and composer Ole Bull transformed a farm into a superb villa with gardens. The villa harmoniously combines Swiss, Russian and Moorish elements into a highly original design. We enjoy our farewell lunch in a restaurant by the harbour. In the later afternoon, there is time to take the funicular railway high above the city for superb views along the Bergen Fjord before returning for our final performance at the Bergen Festival. Overnight Bergen (B, L)
Performance details to be announced October 2018
Sunday May 26: Departure
The tour ends this morning after breakfast. At 10am, there is a group transfer to the new Bergen airport for ongoing flights. (B)
Is one of Australia’s leading music tour leaders and music educators. He has designed and led more than 80 performance based tours to Europe and the US.
Since 1987, Robert Gay has managed to combine his passion for music and his love of teaching with his enthusiasm for travel. He has visited the great opera houses and concert halls of Europe and America and heard most of the great singers and instrumentalists of the last half-century. Robert was President of the Sydney Schubert Society for eighteen years, and for several years was a guest lecturer for ADFAS.
After gaining a BA, Dip. Ed. from the University of Sydney, Robert trained as a lyric baritone in London and Munich before turning to the field of music education with a position at 2MBS-FM. He has taught music history courses at Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education since 1985. Robert’s musical expertise ranges wide, from baroque to modern. He particular enjoys placing works in their larger contexts – musical, biographical, social and historical.
In the early days, Robert always designed his tours to include a visit behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ – whether it was Berlin, Dresden, Prague or Budapest – thereby providing fascinating insights into a world which has now largely disappeared. His tours, which total nearly 90, have regularly featured the great musical cities of Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Russia, as well as Scandinavia and the United States of America.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have travelled the world for the last 30 years taking groups of music lovers to the great musical and cultural cities of Europe and America,” Robert says. “There is something magical about music – an art form which only truly lives as it is performed – which seems to bind people together so effortlessly and harmoniously.”
“I have always been a great believer in ‘the spirit of place’,” says Robert. “You can read and research and google all you like, but it cannot for a moment match the thrill of standing in the beautiful villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne where Wagner and his beloved Cosima first lived together; or of hearing a service in Bach’s unassuming St Thomas’s church in Leipzig; or seeing a performance in the old Paris Opéra, the auditorium ‘crowned’ by its superb Chagall ceiling celebrating both opera and ballet. Such experiences are treasurable and unforgettable!”
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.