Music lies at the heart of German culture, and no other country today can offer lovers of orchestral and vocal music an experience of such consistently high quality. Academy Travel’s annual musical pilgrimage to Germany is based, as always, on an outstanding line-up of eight performances by some of the world’s leading orchestras at first-class opera houses, and uncovers the history of musical patronage in Germany. Gain a deep appreciation of the country’s musical genius as well as its modern revival, with long stays in major centres of musical excellence, background talks and musically-themed sightseeing.
Unrivalled musical heritage, stretching from Bach to Wagner, the 19th-century greats and modern masters
Innovative operatic productions with fine casts of local and international singers
The impact of patronage on music, from aristocrats and emperors to the modern state
Germany’s extraordinary modern rebirth: post-war destruction and contemporary innovation
Music and the modern nation: performances of Rossini, Verdi, Rachmaninov, and Wagner
Eight performances are included. Best available seats to all performances are included in the tour price.
Rossini’s much-loved opera Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden
The season final performance of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, featured as part of the Deutsche Oper’s Wagner festival week
A concert performance by the legendary Berlin Philharmonic of Mozart and Bruckner, with Bernard Haitink conducting
A symphony by the acclaimed Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, under the musical leadership of Andris Nelsons
Puccini’s Tosca at the magnificent Semperoper
Oper Frankfurt’s new production of Handel’s Rodelinda featuring Andreas Scholl as Bertarido
Christian Spuck’s complex adaptation of Rachmaninov’s ballet, Anna Karenina, based on Tolstoy’s novel and danced by the Bavarian State Ballet
Verdi’s opulent opera, Un ballo in maschera, at the National Theatre
Days 1–5: In Berlin, attend three performances; visit Museum Island. Excursions to Potsdam’s Sanssouci and Charlottenburg.
Days 6–7: Explore Leipzig, home to Bach and Mendelssohn. Attend a matinee at the Gewandhaus and survey the Fine Arts Museum.
Days 8–10: Marvel at Dresden’s renaissance, from the reconstructed Semperoper to the Green Vault’s extraordinary collections.
Days 11–13: Explore Wagner’s Bayreuth; cruise the Rhine and visit Goethe’s birthplace in Frankfurt.
Days 14–17: Travel to Munich via Rothenburg. Enjoy the Pinakothek complex and Lenbachhaus art museum, and an excursion to Nymphenburg.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qatar Airlines have daily flights into Berlin and out of Munich. Contact us for fares and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 6 May: Arrive
The tour commences at the hotel in Berlin at 6pm. Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the lobby of the hotel for introductions and drinks followed by dinner in the hotel. Overnight Berlin (D)
Tuesday 7 May: Welcome to Berlin
This morning there is an orientation tour taking in the sights of Berlin by coach and on foot concluding at the Reichstag building. We ascend the Norman Foster designed dome directly above the debating chamber and enjoy a welcome lunch on the rooftop with views over the city. In the afternoon we visit the stunning Gemäldegalerie. Assembled in the early 19th century, the gallery’s collection represents all the major schools of European painting and includes masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio, Breughel, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Overnight Berlin (B, L)
Wednesday 8 May: Museum Island – The Barber of Seville
On the site of one of Berlin’s two original settlements, this unique complex of five state museums is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit in Berlin. Today we visit the Altes Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, and the Bode Museum’s large collection of sculpture. The afternoon is free to visit the remaining Museums. This evening we attend a performance at the Staatsoper unter den Linden of Rossini’s comedic opera, Il Barbiere Di Siviglia. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Staatsoper unter den Linden Program: Rossini’s Il Barbiere Di Siviglia Performers: Michele Angelini (Almaviva), Renato Girolami (Bartolo), Annalisa Stroppa (Rosalina), Jan Martiník (Don Basilio), Stefano Ranzani (musical director)
Thursday 9 May: Charlottenberg – The Flying Dutchman
We depart by coach to Charlottenburg, where we visit the Berggruen Museum with its exceptional collection of modern art including works by Matisse, Klee and Giacometti. After lunch we take a guided tour of the richly decorated interiors of the Palace of Charlottenburg, constructed between 1695 and 1713 as a summer home for Sophie Charlotte, wife of Elector Friedrich III of Prussia. We return to Berlin and attend a performance this evening at the Deutsche Oper of Wagner’s romantic opera, Fliegender Hollander staged as part of Wagner Festival week. Overnight Berlin (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Deutsche Oper Program: Wagner’s Fliegender Hollander Performers: Falk Struckmann (Daland), Catherine Foster (Senta), Thomas Blondelle (Erik), Iain Patterson (The Dutchman), Axel Kober (conductor)
Friday 10 May: Potsdam & Sanssouci – Berlin Philharmonic
Today we travel to nearby Potsdam, to investigate court life at the time of Frederick the Great. Potsdam was the capital of the state of Brandenburg and a former royal city. We visit the splendid rococo palace of Sanssouci, which Frederick made his main residence. We return to Berlin with time to refresh before this evening’s concert performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Overnight Berlin (B)
Performance details Venue: Berlin Philharmonic Program: Mozart’s Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 27 & Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 Performers: Paul Lewis (piano), Bernard Haitink (conductor)
Saturday 11 May: To Leipzig
This morning we depart for Leipzig. On arrival we visit the Thomaskirche where J.S Bach worked and the adjoining Bach Museum, celebrating the composer’s life and legacy and housing a display of his original manuscripts. We also visit St Nicholas church, the oldest in Leipzig dating from 1165. The church played a key role in the nonviolent downfall of the East German government by hosting weekly peace prayers followed by candlelight demonstrations. This afternoon, we visit the Musical Instruments Museum to see its large collection of musical paraphernalia and instruments from Europe and beyond, dating back to the Renaissance. Dinner this evening is at Auerbachs Kellar, frequented by Goethe and immortalised in Faust. Overnight Leipzig (B, D)
Sunday 12 May: Mendelssohn Museum – Gewandhaus Concert
A leisurely stroll takes us to the Gewandhaus for a morning concert conducted by Andris Nelsons in the great hall, noted for its fine acoustics. Following the performance, we visit the house where Felix Mendelssohn lived from 1845 until his death in 1847. Now a museum, we visit the carefully restored apartment furnished in late Biedermeier style and see his music salon which is still in use for concerts today. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the Museum of Fine Arts. Overnight Leipzig (B)
Performance details Venue: Gewandhaus Great Hall Program: Bruckner’s Symphony No 5 Performers: Gewandhaus Orchestra, Andris Nelsons (conductor)
Monday 13 May: To Dresden
This morning we travel to Meissen, on the banks of the Elbe where we embark on a walking tour through the town’s Renaissance architecture and stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Arriving in Dresden this afternoon we check into our hotel before visiting both the historic and new ‘Green Vaults’, located in Dresden Castle. The Vault was established in 1723 by King August II, and contains about 3,000 antiquities, precious stones, jewellery, rare Indian sculptures, and some outstanding porcelain. Overnight Dresden (B, L, D)
Tuesday 14 May: Dresden
Our touring begins with the Old Masters Gallery, located in the Zwinger Palace and containing European works from the Renaissance to the 18th century. We continue to the Frauenkirche, the monumental 18th-century church destroyed in the devastating air raids of World War II, restored and re-opened in 2005. We also visit Dresden Cathedral to see the rococo pulpit and carefully restored organ, originally built by Gottfried Silbermann and considered his finest work. This afternoon we visit the New Masters Gallery at the Albertinum to view the Caspar David Friedrich collection and the works of the 20th-century Dresden-based Brucke Group of expressionist artists. Overnight Dresden (B)
Wednesday 15 May: Pillnitz Palace – Tosca
Today we visit the extraordinary ensemble of architecture and landscape gardening that makes up Pillnitz Palace on the outskirts of the city. Built by August the Strong as a ‘Water Palace’, Pillnitz has extensive gardens, water features and many Chinese architectural features in its buildings. The afternoon is free before we head to the Semperoper for a performance of Puccini’s war drama Tosca. Overnight Dresden (B)
Performance details Venue: Semper Oper Program: Puccini’s Tosca Performers: Hui Te (Floria Tosca), Andeka Gorrotxategi (Mario Cavaradossi), John Lundgren (Baron Scarpia), Chao Deng (Cesare Agnelotti), Matthias Henneberg (Der Mesner), Tom Martinsen (Spoletta), Stefano Ranzani (conductor)
Thursday 16 May: Beyrueth
Today we travel to Bayreuth, an elegant provincial city where Wagner chose to build his Festspielhaus, a theatre specifically designed to house his great music dramas. We visit Wahnfried, the villa built for him by King Ludwig, also known as the Richard Wagner Museum and the nearby Liszt Museum where the composer died in 1886. We continue to Frankfurt, arriving in the early evening. Overnight Frankfurt (B, D)
Friday 17 May: Historic Frankfurt – Rodelinda
This morning a local guide takes us on a walking tour through the historic centre of Frankfurt where we visit Goethe’s birth house. Frankfurt has enjoyed a significant cultural renaissance in the last 10-15 years which we will observe on our walk. The afternoon is free before a performance of Handel’s electrifying drama Rodelinda at the Oper Frankfurt. Overnight Frankfurt (B)
Performance details Venue: Oper Frankfurt Program: Handel’s Rodelinda Performers: Lucy Crowe (Rodelinda), Andreas Scholl (Bertarido), Martin Mitterruzner (Grimoaldo), Katharina Magiera (Eduige), Jakub Józef Orliński (Unulfo), Božidar Smiljanić (Garibaldo), Fabián Augusto Goméz (Flavio), Andrea Marcon (conductor)
Saturday 18 May: Rhine Cruise
Today we explore Frankfurt’s excellent Städel art museum housing over 700 years of European art from the Renaissance to early modern works. We then head out of Frankfurt to the wine village of Rüdesheim where we embark on a cruise along one of the most scenic sections of the Rhine, the so-called ‘Romantic Rhine’. Enjoy lunch on board as we pass the famous Lorelei Rock, the mythical home of the Rhine siren who was said to lure sailors to their death. Poems based on the legend were set to music by several of the leading Romantic composers including Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt. Overnight Frankfurt (B, L)
Sunday 19 May: To Munich – Anna Karenina
Departing Frankfurt we head to the medieval town of Rothenburg on the Romantic Road. We take a walking tour through the cobbled lanes and tall timbered houses of the walled city. After free time for lunch we continue to Munich where we attend a performance of Rachmaninov’s ballet, Anna Karenina at the National Theatre this evening. Overnight Munich (B)
Performance details Venue: National Theatre Program: Rachmaninov’s Anna Karenina Performers: Artists of the Bayerisches Staatsballett, Christian Spuck (Choreographer)
Monday 20 May: Munich
This morning we explore Munich with a guided walking tour through the city centre. In the afternoon we travel a short distance to Nymphenburg, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs and visit the commanding baroque palace and expansive landscaped gardens. Overnight Munich (B)
Tuesday 21 May: Art in Munich – A Masked Ball
In the middle of the 19th century, Munich was one of the most important art centres in Europe, and in the 1880s, Lenbach was one of the most famous artists in Germany. Today Lenbachhaus is home to the stunning collection of art from the early 20th-century Der Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group: Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, Macke, Marc, and Münter. We continue to the Alte Pinakothek which holds one of the most significant art collections in the world. Among the European masterpieces on view are paintings by Dürer, Titian, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens and Murillo. Our touring concludes with a farewell lunch at a well-known Munich restaurant. We return to the National Theatre this evening for the Bayerisches Staatsoper’s new production of Verdi’s dramatic Opera, Un Ballo in Maschera. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: National Theatre Program: Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera Performers: Wookyung Kim (Ricardo), George Petean (Renato), Adrianne Pieczonka (Amelia), Okka von der Damerau (Ulrica), Paolo Carignani (conductor)
Wednesday 22 May: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast. Transfers have been arranged to Munich Airport for passengers booking their flights through Academy Travel. (B)
Dr Rosamund Bartlett
Is a cultural historian who has lectured and written widely on music. Her books include Wagner and Russia and Shostakovich in Context.
Rosamund Bartlett is a cultural historian with a particular interest in European Modernism, and in opera. She completed her doctorate at Oxford, and pursued an academic career for fifteen years before becoming a full-time writer and translator. During this time she served on the Council of the Royal Musical Association and organised several international music conferences which included collaborations with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Borodin String Quartet, and Oxford Contemporary Music. She maintains an active scholarly profile and is currently an Honorary Associate in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sydney. Her opera research has been supported by the British Academy and a Fernand Braudel Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence.
She is the author and editor of several books, including Wagner and Russia, and Shostakovich in Context. As well as contributing to publications such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, she has written articles for the Royal Opera House, La Monnaie and Opera Australia. She has taken part in broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, and been asked to give pre-concert talks including for the Proms, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Oxford Lieder Festival. In 2017 she was commissioned to translate the original libretto of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth for the Salzburg Festival. She speaks several languages, and has been travelling to Germany since she was a teenager, when she was an exchange student in Munich. She has extensive experience leading tours throughout Europe.
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.