Jul 3 - 14, 2018
12 days
$11,980per person, twin share (land content only). $1,970 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Jul 3 - 14, 2018

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$11,980per person, twin share (land content only). $1,970 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Through its special connections in Munich and at Glyndebourne, Academy Travel is pleased to offer entrée to difficult-to-access performances at two of the world’s leading opera festivals. Each year in Munich, the Bavarian State Opera presents all its new productions for the season over three weeks. The impressive roster of singers features sopranos Anna Netrebko and Anja Harteros, and tenor Jonas Kaufmann. Established in 1934, Glyndebourne is the doyen of English country-house opera festivals, with superb productions, excellent singers and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit.


  • Seven top-flight performances with internationally renowned singers, conductors and directors
  • Expert pre and post-performance discussions
  • The musical, architectural and artistic heritage of Bavaria
  • The fine landscapes and villages of the Sussex Downs
  • World-famous private sculpture parks and private gardens
  • The company of like-minded music lovers


Performance Program

Best available tickets to seven outstanding operas:


  • Richard Strauss’s Arabella, starring Anja Harteros
  • Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, starring Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape and Nina Stemme
  • Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, with Pretty Yende and Vittorio Grigolo
  • Puccini’s Tosca, starring Angela Gheorghiu, Joseph Calleja and Thomas Hampson


  • A new production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with Christina Gansch and John Chest
  • Madama Butterfly makes its Glyndebourne debut in Annilese Miskimmon’s thought-provoking production
  • Handel’s dazzling masterpiece Giulio Cesare in celebrated Glyndebourne production with Sarah Connolly

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–3: Settle in to our Munich program with Strauss’s Arabella and a trip to the Bavarian lakes.

Days 4–7: Attend Parsifal, L’elisir d’amore and Tosca, visit Munich’s galleries and Bavaria’s historic castles.

Day 8: Fly to London and transfer to Lower Beeding, a historic market town in the Sussex Downs.

Days 9–11: Attend late afternoon performances at Glyndebourne, with long interval dinners. During the day visit sites such as the Bloomsbury Group’s Charleston and historic Firle Manor.

There are currently no places available on this tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details above.

Getting There

Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Etihad offer daily flights into Munich and home from London.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the letters B, L, D and C for canapes.

Tuesday July 3: Arrival

You should arrange your travels to arrive at our Munich hotel by the late afternoon. In the early evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the hotel for drinks and canapes. Overnight Munich (C)

Wednesday July 4: Arabella

This morning there is a talk on Strauss’s 1933 opera Arabella. It is the last of six works he created with his librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, one of the most productive creative partnerships in music history. Arabella is a lyrical work, often compared to the better-known Der Rosenkavalier. The title role is a showcase for a lyric soprano, and tonight we hear the celebrated German soprano Anja Harteros as Arabella. There will be time to explore the centre of Munich, perhaps visiting the open-air Viktualienmarkt before we enjoy a welcome lunch in a Munich restaurant. Tonight’s performance starts at 7.00pm. Overnight Munich (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre, Munich
Program: Richard Strauss’s Arabella
Performers: Anja Harteros (Arabella), Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (Zdenka), Thomas J. Mayer (Mandryka), Constantin Trinks (conductor)

Thursday July 5: Parsifal

This evening we see Wagner’s contemplative medieval drama Parsifal. The three-act music-drama is based loosely on a 13th-century German epic poem, and tells the tale of the Arthurian knight, Sir Percival.  Kirill Petrenko conducts tonight’s performance of a new production by Pierre Audi. The cast is unbeatable, with Munich-based tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, Swedish superstar Nina Stemme as Kundry, fine bass René Pape as Gurnemanz and baritone Christian Gerhaher as Amfortas. This morning there is a pre-performance talk, followed by free time to relax or visit one of Munich’s many fine galleries and museums. The performance begins at 4.00pm. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre, Munich
Program: Wagner’s Parsifal
Performers: Jonas Kaufmann (Parsifal), Nina Stemme (Kundry), René Pape (Gurnemanz), Christian Gerhaher (Amfortas), Wolfgang Koch (Klingsor), Kirill Petrenko (conductor)

Friday July 6: L’elisir d’amore

Our pre-performance talk today explores the bel canto period and Donizetti’s comic opera L’elisir d’amore. Like many bel canto works, the success of the performance depends very much on the virtuosity of the performers. Tonight we get to hear two leading exponents of the bel canto style in action. Young South-African coloratura soprano Pretty Yende shot to stardom after winning the Vincenzo Bellini prize in 2010. She thrilled Parisian audiences as Lucia in 2016, a role she will reprise at the Met in early 2018. Vittorio Grigolo’s liquid lyric tenor will fit the role of the lovelorn Nemorino perfectly, and the magnificent buffo bass, Ambrogio Maestri, sings the role of the quack doctor, Dulcamara. After the pre-performance talk, we visit one of Munich’s leading art galleries, the Alte Pinakothek. Those interested in Kandinsky and Munich’s ‘Blue Rider’ movement will also want to visit the nearby Pinakothek der Modern. Tonight’s performance begins at 7.00pm. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre, Munich
Program: Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore
Performers: Pretty Yende (Adina), Vittorio Grigolo (Nemorino), Ambrogio Maestri (Dulcamara)

Saturday July 7: The Romantic Road

Bavaria’s famous Romantic Road follows the rivers and valleys of Bavaria through some of the region’s most beautiful small towns, largely untouched by war and modern development. Today’s excursion takes us to two standout villages. Medieval Dinkelsbühl has ramparts, watchtowers and a castle of the order of the Teutonic Knights. Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, where we have lunch, was founded in the 12th century. It is home to one of the largest and most important works by German Renaissance sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, the St Francis Altar. Riemenschneider worked in many of the towns along the Romantic Road. Towns like Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg were ‘rediscovered’ in the 19th century as Germany explored its national identity, and were an inspiration for Wagner and others to create works set in the Middle Ages. We return to Munich in the late afternoon. Overnight Munich (B, L)

Sunday July 8: Augsburg

Today we make a full-day excursion to Augsburg, about an hour from Munich. This historically and artistically significant town is often overlooked by tourists. Augsburg was the home-town of Leopold Mozart, so there are some important musical connections as well. Our first stop is the Schaezlerpalais, a magnificent German baroque town house, with a painting collection of German Renaissance works, including Augsburg-born Hans Holbein, and later masters such as Veronese, Canaletto, Van Dyck and Tiepolo. We also visit the medieval cathedral and the Fuggerei, a gated district of poor-houses built in 1519 by Jakob Fugger, banker to Emperor Charles V and the wealthiest man in Europe at the time. It is thanks to Fugger and other wealthy Augsburghers that the city earned its reputation as the Bavarian Florence. We return to Munich in the late afternoon. Overnight Munich (B)

Monday July 9: Tosca

From medieval drama, we move to Italian verismo melodrama for our final performance in Munich. Puccini’s Tosca is a very familiar work to most opera-lovers, but Puccini’s stirring music and a great cast can still thrill even the most jaded music lover. Tonight we hear Angela Gheorghiu in the role of Floria Tosca, with American baritone Thomas Hampson as the villainous Baron Scarpia and charismatic tenor Joseph Calleja as the revolutionary lover Cavaradossi. The Luc Bondy production premiered at the Metropolitan Opera a few years ago, and is conducted by Met regular, Marco Armiliato. The morning is free, with an afternoon talk on the performance before the curtain rises at 7.00pm. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre, Munich
Program: Puccini’s Tosca
Performers: Angela Gheorghiu (Floria Tosca), Joseph Calleja (Mario Cavaradossi), Thomas Hampson (Baron Scarpia), Marco Armiliato (conductor)

Tuesday July 10: To England

We check out of our hotel this morning and take a late morning flight to London’s Heathrow airport. From there it is a 90-minute transfer to the Sussex countryside to Lower Beeding about 30 minutes’ drive from the Glyndebourne Estate. This evening we have dinner in the hotel’s fine restaurant. Overnight Lower Beeding (B, D)

Wednesday July 11: Charleston – Pelléas et Mélisande

A morning talk on this evening’s opera is followed by a visit to Charleston, the country house associated with London’s literary Bloomsbury Group. It was here in the first decades of the 20th century that group members escaped London to work, argue and make love. Critic Clive Bell and his artist wife Virginia Bell established Charleston, and a great number of artists, writers and public figures passed through over the years. The house is decorated throughout with furniture and artworks by the Bloomsbury group, while in a room on the first floor John Maynard Keynes wrote his ground-breaking work, The Economic Consequences of the War. We head to Glyndebourne in the mid-afternoon. There will be time to stroll around the magnificent gardens and lawns before the performance. In the long interval, there will be dinner in Nether Wallop, one of Glyndebourne’s three restaurants. Overnight Lower Beeding (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne
Program: Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande
Performers: Christina Gansch (Mélisande), John Chest (Pelléas), Christopher Purves (Golaud), Brindley Sherratt (Arkel), Karen Cargill (Geneviève), Robin Ticciati (conductor)

Thursday July 12: Firle Place – Madama Butterfly

A morning talk on this evening’s opera is followed by a visit to Firle Place, an 18th century home with fine grounds and an impressive art collection. We arrive at Glyndebourne in good time for the performance. In the long interval, there will be dinner in Mildmay restaurant in the grounds of the estate. Overnight Lower Beeding (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne
Program: Puccini’s Madama Butterfly
Performers: Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio-San), Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki), Joshua Guerrero (Lieutenant B F Pinkerton), Michael Sumuel (Sharpless), Omer Meir Wellber (conductor)

Friday July 13: Giulio Cesare

The morning is at leisure following a talk on our final opera at Glyndebourne, is a masterpiece of the baroque period by Handel. Glyndebourne is closely associated with the rehabilitation of such forgotten works into the mainstream repertoire. Dinner is at Middle & Over restaurant in the grounds of the estate. Overnight Lower Beeding (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne
Program: Handel’s Giulio Cesare
Performers: Sarah Connolly (Giulio Cesare), Joélle Harvey (Cleopatra), Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo), Patricia Bardon (Cornelia) William Christie / Jonathan Cohen (conductor)

Saturday July 14: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. There is a group transfers to London central and Heathrow airport for travellers booking their flights through Academy Travel. (B)

Robert Gay

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!”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Hotels have been selected principally for their central location. Both of the hotels are excellent four-star properties that are within renovated historic buildings.

Munich – Hotel Torbraeu (7 nights)

This historic four-star family-run hotel is conveniently located a short walk from the National Theatre, in the heart of Munich. The rooms are classically furnished and comfortable, each with modern amenities. The hotel is in walking distance of many of Munich’s most popular attractions. www.torbraeu.de

Lower Beeding, South Lodge Hotel (4 nights)

The South Lodge Hotel is an up-market property that is well reviewed by clients. It has comfortable rooms and is well located in the Sussex countryside, ideal for visiting Glyndebourne. www.exclusive.co.uk/south-lodge


Tour Inclusions

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

Airport Transfers

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

Booking conditions

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.

Cancellation Fees

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.

Travel Insurance

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.

Final Payment

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.

Fitness rating

Grade 1

A Grade 1 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details

There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details.

Tour Full Join Waitlist

Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Frederick Steyn 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Detailed Itinerary

Download now

Next Departure

If these dates don't work for you, register to hear about the next tour.

Join Waitlist

There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details below.


Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.

Hold a Place

Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.


Sign up to our mailing list for tour updates and latest news.