Jul 9 - 20, 2020
12 days
$12,280per person, twin share (land content only). $2,490 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Jul 9 - 20, 2020

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Through its special connections in Munich and Glyndebourne, Academy Travel is pleased to once again 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 festival draws an impressive roster of singers, such as sopranos Anna Netrebko and Anja Harteros and tenor Jonas Kauffman. Established in 1934, Glyndebourne is the doyen of English country-house festivals, with superb productions, excellent singers and the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit.


Performance Program

Best available tickets to six operas and one vocal recital. We are delighted to include four new productions in the 2020 line up.

Munich Opera Festival

  • Puccini’s Tosca, starring internationally-acclaimed soprano Sonya Yoncheva and tenor Riccardo Massi
  • A new production of Verdi’s Otello, starring tenor Roberto Alagna, with soprano Anja Harteros as Desdemona
  • A new production of Verdi’s Falstaff, starring Wolfgang Koch and Aleksandra Kursak, conducted by Kiril Petrenko
  • Vocal Recital by tenor Jonas Kaufmann at the National Theatre

Glyndebourne Opera Festival

  • Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, directed by David McVicar
  • A new production of Handel’s Alcina, directed by Francesco Micheli and conducted by Gianluca Capuano
  • A new production of Poulenc’s dramatic Dialogues des Carmélites directed by Barrie Kosky, starring Danielle de Niese and conducted by Glyndebourne’s musical director Robin Ticciati

Itinerary Overview

Days 1-7: In Munich, attend four fine operas by the Bavarian State Opera. Explore Munich and visit the tiny mountain village of Murnau. Visit Lenbachhaus Museum and enjoy iconic villages of the Romantic Road, crucial to modern Germany’s national identity.

Days 8: Fly to London and transfer to the seaside city of Brighton.

Days 9-12:Attend afternoon performances at Glyndebourne, with dinners included during the long intervals. During the day, explore the charming coastal city of Brighton, including the famous pavilion and encounter Bloomsbury Group intrigue at bohemian Charleston.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at our hotel in Munich and ends at Victoria Rail Station in London. Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines all offer suitable connections to these cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

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

Thursday July 9: Arrival

If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel, we will organise a transfer from Munich Airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the evening, meet Robert Gay and fellow travellers in the hotel for drinks and canapes. Overnight Munich (C)

Friday July 10: Exploring Munich – Tosca

This morning there is a talk on Puccini’s Tosca. After the talk, we take a guided walking tour of Munich’s historical old town, ending at an excellent Munich restaurant where we have our welcome lunch. The later afternoon is at leisure before this evening’s performance. Overnight Munich (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre
Program: Puccini’s Tosca
Performers: Sonya Yoncheva (Floria Tosca), Riccardo Massi (Mario Cavaradossi), Marco Armiliato (conductor)

Saturday July 11: A community of artists

Our excursion today takes us south of Munich to the village of Murnau, situated on the edge of the Bavarian Alps. In the early 20th century, the village was home to two important artists of Munich’s new ‘Blue Rider’ school of painting, Gabriele Münter and Wassily Kandinsky. After visiting the small museum, we enjoy lunch in a typical Bavarian restaurant. The later afternoon and evening are at leisure back in Munich. Overnight Munich (B, L)

Sunday July 12: Munich’s ‘Blue Rider’ school – Otello

Our pre-performance talk this morning explores Verdi’s late masterpiece, Otello. Afterwards, we visit the Lenbachhaus Museum, home to the stunning collection of art from the early 20th century by the ‘Blue Rider’ school of painters, including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, August Macke and Franz Marc. The later afternoon is at leisure before this evening’s performance. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre
Program: Verdi’s Otello
Performers: Gregory Kunde (Otello), Claudio Sgura (Jago), Anja Harteros (Desdemona), Adam Fischer (conductor)

Monday July 13: Nymphenburg Palace – Voice Recital

This morning we head to the Nymphenburg Palace, a small baroque summer palace set in vast grounds on the edge of the city. After visiting the palace, we stroll to the amazing rococo Amalienburg hunting lodge designed by François Cuvilliés. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure back in Munich before this evening’s performance. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre
Program: Vocal Recital
Performers: Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Helmut German (pianist)

Tuesday July 14: Munich’s great art galleries – Falstaff

After this morning’s talk, we have a special all-day ticket to three of Munich’s great art galleries which are all located within a short walk of each other. The recently refurbished Alte Pinakothek, brimming with masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt and many others is one of the great art galleries of the world; the small Museum Brandhorst features a magnificent set of late canvasses by Cy Twombly; and the relatively new Pinakothek der Moderne houses graphic art, architecture and design, as well as a collection of works by 20th century and contemporary masters, under the one cupola-topped roof. Overnight Munich (B)

Performance details
Venue: National Theatre
Program: Verdi’s Falstaff
Performers: Wolfgang Koch (Sir John Falstaff), Boris Pinkhasovich (Ford), Kirill Petrenko (conductor)

Wednesday July 15: 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 by coach to Brighton, England’s most vibrant seaside city, a rich cultural mix of Regency architecture and an eclectic arts scene. This evening we have dinner in the hotel’s bistro restaurant. Overnight Brighton (B, D)

Thursday July 16: Royal Pavilion – Die Entführung aus dem Serail

After a morning talk on Mozart’s opera, we take a stroll through Brighton to visit the Royal Pavilion, built as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811. In the early afternoon, we travel to Glyndebourne with time to relax and enjoy a pre-performance drink. During the long interval, there will be dinner in Nether Wallop, one of Glyndebourne’s three fine restaurants. Overnight Brighton (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne Opera House
Program: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Performers: Lisette Oropesa (Konstanze), Martin Mitterrutzner (Belmonte), Ante Jerkunica (Osmin)

Friday July 17: Brighton – Alcina

After a morning talk on Handel’s Alcina, the middle of the day is at leisure in Brighton before we drive to Glyndebourne in the mid-afternoon. During the long interval, there will be dinner in Mildmay restaurant. Overnight Brighton (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne Opera House
Program: Handel’s Alcina
Performers: Kristina Mkhitaryan (Alcina), Nina Minasyan (Morgana), Anna Stéphany (Ruggiero)

Saturday July 18: Charleston and Monk’s House

This morning we travel to Charleston, the country house associated with London’s literary Bloomsbury Group. It was here in the first decades of the 20th century that members of the group escaped London to work, argue and make love. Art critic Clive Bell and his artist wife Vanessa Bell established Charleston, and a great number of artists, writers and public figures passed through here 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 then make our way to nearby Monk’s House, the 16th-century cottage of Virginia and Leonard Woolf who divided their time between Bloomsbury and this delightful country retreat. The later afternoon and evening are at leisure back in Brighton. Overnight Brighton (B)

Sunday July 19: Brighton – Dialogues des Carmélites

After a talk on Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, the middle of the day is at leisure in Brighton before making our way to Glyndebourne in the mid-afternoon. Our farewell dinner this evening is at Glyndebourne’s fine-dining restaurant, Middle & Over Wallop. Overnight Brighton (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: Glyndebourne Opera House
Program: Dialogues des Carmélites
Performers: Danielle de Niese (Blanche de la Force), Robin Ticciati (conductor)

Monday July 20: Departure

After breakfast, there is a group transfer to London Victoria’s Railway Station. (B)

Robert Gay

One of Australia’s leading music tour leaders and music educators, he has designed and led more than 90 tours.

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 Torbräu (6 nights)

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

Brighton, Hotel du Vin and Bistro (5 nights)

This boutique four-star hotel is situated near the quaint narrow cobble-stoned alleyways of The Lanes, the oldest part of Brighton. It has comfortable rooms and is well located, just 100 metres from Brighton’s beach and promenade. The hotel is 30 minutes’ drive from Glyndebourne. www.hotelduvin.com

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, taxis or public transport are 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
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included

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?

Our 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
  • 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. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade One

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


A limited number of places remain on this tour and as such, internet bookings are not taken. Please contact our travel consultant listed below if you wish to make a booking.

Hold a Place Download Booking Form

Speak to a consultant

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

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