Sir Bryn Terfel, Joyce DiDonato, Javier Camarena, Vittorio Grigolo, and Australian Nicole Car – the stars of the operatic firmament come out in a star-studded line-up at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, unrivalled by any other opera company anywhere in the world! Academy Travel is delighted to offer a 12-day program that includes six outstanding performances at the Met, plus a Broadway play and a Carnegie Hall concert. We’ve secured seats in the Grand Tier for all performances, complemented by background talks and visits to a select range of galleries and museums.
Six operas, a stage play and a Carnegie Hall concert are included. Details of the play and the concert will be available in November 2019.
Handel’s Agrippina – brand new David McVicar production starring Joyce DiDonato, Brenda Rae and Iestyn Davies.
Verdi’s La Traviata – new 2019 production with star tenor Vittorio Grigolo as Alfredo and upcoming soprano Lisette Oropesa as Violetta
Mozart’s Così fan tutte – 2018 production starring Australian soprano Nicole Car
Rossini’s comedy La Cenerentola – with Javier Camarena, the new star tenor of the international operatic scene
Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman – brand new production conducted by Valery Gergiev with Sir Bryn Terfel as the Dutchman and star German soprano Anja Kampe making her Met Opera debut
Opening night of Massenet’s Werther, with an all-star cast including Joyce DiDonato, Piotr Beczala and Aida Garifullina, led by the Met’s music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin
Day 1: Meet for welcome drinks.
Day 2: Midtown walking tour. Agrippina. Day 3: Neue Museum private visit and a stroll in Central Park. Broadway theatre matinee.
Days 4–5: The Cloisters and Harlem. La Traviata.
Day 6: Frick Collection. Così fan tutte.
Day 7: JP Morgan Library. La Cenerentola.
Day 8: MoMA private viewing, lunch at The Modern, Carnegie Hall concert.
Days 9-10: Harlem Gospel (optional), The High Line and Chelsea. The Flying Dutchman matinee.
Day 11: Opening night of Werther, with farewell dinner at Grand Tier restaurant.
Tour begins and ends at our New York hotel. Qantas, Delta and United Airlines offer direct regular flights to and from New York, with stopovers in either Los Angeles or Dallas Fort Worth. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Friday March 6: Arrive New York
Meet your tour leader and fellow tour participants over welcome drinks and finger food in our hotel.
Saturday March 7: Midtown – Agrippina
Dr Matthew Laing will take us on a guided tour of the historical and architectural landmarks of New York’s Midtown district, starting at the incredible Art Deco masterpiece, the Rockefeller Center, then continuing on to other masterpieces such as Lever House, the Seagram Building, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the General Electric Building and grand stores of 5th Avenue. After a welcome lunch, Robert Mitchell guides us through tonight’s opera, Handel’s Agrippina. Written in 1709 for the Venice carnival, it tells the story of the ambitious Agrippina, mother of the notorious Roman emperor Nero. The story allows for some plum dramatic roles, which will be filled by a remarkable cast, led by America diva Joyce DiDonato. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Handel, Agrippina Performers: Joyce DiDonato (Agrippina), Brenda Rae (Poppea), Iestyn Davies (Ottone), Kate Lindsey (Nero), Matthew Rose (Claudius), Harry Bicket (conductor)
Sunday March 8: Neue Galerie, Central Park
The Neue Galerie, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was established by the art dealer Serge Sabarsky and the art-loving entrepreneur Ronald S Lauder. The collection focuses on early 20th-century painting and decorative arts from Vienna, and its centrepiece is Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer, subject of the recent film, The Woman in Gold. Our before-hours tour will also include a visiting exhibition of early 20th-century art (the Neue regularly holds exhibitions of the highest calibre). This afternoon we stroll through Central Park, once dubbed ‘the largest work of art in New York’, for the remarkable landscaping by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. Alternatively, you might like to catch a Sunday matinee performance at Carnegie Hall or a Broadway theatre. (B)
Monday March 9: Museum of Art and Design – La Traviata
This morning Robert provides an analysis of Verdi’s mid-career opera, his most popular work and considered by many to be among his finest. The remainder of the day is free to explore as you wish, or to take an optional guided visit with Matthew to New York’s Downtown, to see the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church, Woolworth Building, Wall Street and the Financial District. Michael Mayer’s production of La Traviata opened on New Year’s Eve 2018 to considerable acclaim. The cast includes American soprano Lisette Oropesa as Violetta, a singer who has been receiving excellent reviews for her recent performances. Elegant Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo has a voice perfectly suited to play Violetta’s lover, Alfredo Germont. (B)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Verdi, La Traviata Performers: Lisette Oropesa (Violetta), Vittorio Grigolo (Alfredo), Luca Salsi (Giorgio Germont) Bertrand De Billy (conductor)
Tuesday March 10: The Met Museum
This morning has been set aside to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose 54 departments contain paintings, decorative arts and artefacts from all corners of the globe, covering more than 3,000 years of human history. Rather than trying to cover the whole collection, our visit will focus on one or two departments and a selection of the special exhibitions that are showing. We begin at The Cloisters, the Met’s extraordinary medieval collection, housed in a monastery-like building on the northern tip of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. After driving back through Harlem, we spend the rest of the day at the main campus on Fifth Avenue. (B)
Wednesday March 11: JP Morgan Library – Cosi Fan Tutte
This morning we visit the magnificent collection of the JP Morgan Library. In 1903 banker JP Morgan commissioned Gilded Age architect Stanford White to design a Renaissance-style pavilion to hold his precious literary collection. Spending the equivalent of $900 million in today’s terms, Morgan acquired an unrivalled collection, ranging from ancient Mesopotamian tablets to illustrated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, some of the first and rarest printed books, music manuscripts and important documents of American history. After lunch in the Morgan restaurant, you’ll have the option to visit some other landmarks of Lower Midtown, including the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station with your tour manager. In the late afternoon, Robert discusses Mozart’s intriguing comic work Cosi Fan Tutte. Phelim McDermott’s production, created jointly for the English National Opera and the Met, uses a circus-like setting to deal with the fleeting and somewhat impossible story line. Having debuted the role in 2016 in Sydney, Australian Nicole Car’s warm and flexible soprano has proven to be perfectly suited to Fiordiligi. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte Performers: Nicole Car (Fiordiligi), Serena Malfi (Dorabella), Ben Bliss (Ferrando), Luca Pisaroni (Gugliemo), Gerald Finley (Don Alfonso), Harry Bicket (conductor)
Thursday March 12: Chelsea and the High Line – La Cenerentola
This morning we explore the fashionable Chelsea district, once an industrial area, but today teeming with art galleries, exclusive apartment buildings and the High Line, a former overhead industrial rail line turned into a remarkable public park. There will be time to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art, housed in a Renzo Piano building, and stroll the High Line from 15th to 30th streets. Back at the hotel, Robert takes us through Rossini’s Cenerentola in preparation for tonight’s performance. The vocal writing is both demanding and rewarding, and deserves our close attention. (B)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Rossini, La Cenerentola Performers: Tara Erraught (Angelina), Javier Camarena (Don Ramiro), Davide Luciano (Dandini), Maurizio Muraro (Don Magnifico)
Friday March 13: MoMA – Carnegie Hall
The Museum of Modern Art, located a few steps from our hotel, contains a collection of European and American art from the 1880s to the present day and has had an immense influence on our understanding of modern art. A museum lecturer takes us through the highlights of the permanent collection in the hour before MoMA opens its doors to the public. The museum undergoes a major rehang in 2019, so even past visitors will enjoy the new look. After our tour, the remainder of the day is free to enjoy the museum. We celebrate our visit with lunch at The Modern, the Michelin two-star restaurant within the museum. This evening has been set aside for a concert at Carnegie Hall, not far from our hotel. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Carnegie Hall
Program: to be announced November 2019
Performers: to be announced November 2019
Saturday March 14: The Frick Collection – Die Fliegende Hollander
After a morning talk on Wagner’s 1843 opera Die Fleigende Hollander we visit the Frick Collection on Fifth Avenue in the elegant Upper East Side of Manhattan. More than any other small museum, The Frick epitomises the wealth and refinement of America’s super-wealthy in the golden age of the late 19th and early 20th century. Pittsburgh coal and steel baron Henry Clay Frick was a complex man – ruthless in business yet with impeccable taste in painting and decorative arts. European masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 19th century vie for our attention with superlative decorative arts, all in a harmonious private house setting. The rest of the day is free before returning to the Met Opera for what will surely be a highlight of our stay. Baritone Sir Bryn Terfel plays the tormented Dutchman in this new production, opposite exciting German soprano Anja Kampe as Senta. Russian maestro Valery Gergiev is known for his intense dramatic interpretations, so we can expect a fine evening of music making. (B)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Richard Wagner Die Fliegende Hollander Performers: Sir Bryn Terfel (Dutchman), Anja Kampe (Senta), Sergey Skorokdhov (Erik), Valery Gergiev (conductor)
Sunday March 15: Sunday IN Brooklyn
Although it lies just across the East River, Brooklyn was for centuries an independent city and it still maintains a distinctive identity. We escape Manhattan today, spending the morning exploring the historic precincts of Brooklyn Heights and Park Slopes and, weather permitting, taking a stroll in Prospect Park. We then head to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for lunch in a local restaurant, with time to stroll the art galleries in the precinct before heading back, perhaps by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. (B, L)
Monday March 16: Day at leisure – Werther
This morning Robert takes us through Massenet’s best-known work, which premiered in 1892 in Europe and 1894 at the Metropolitan Opera. The remainder of the day is free to relax or undertake individual sightseeing. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at the Metropolitan Opera’s Grand Tier restaurant. The tour closes with an opening, for this is the first performance of Werther. The all-star cast should provide a fitting reminder of just why the Metropolitan Opera is regarded by many as the world’s greatest house. (B, D)
The morning is free to relax or undertake last minute sightseeing. In the mid-afternoon there is a transfer to John F Kennedy airport for those returning to Australia. (B)
Dr Robert Mitchell
A highly experienced tour leader and singer, he is a veteran of over 5,200 performances in over 120 operas.
Dr Robert Mitchell’s background is in performance, musicology and education. Between 1973 and 2017 he sang over 5,200 performances with Opera Australia in 120 operas. Beyond opera, his interests include all genres of art music, especially French mélodie, music theatre and related visual arts.
Robert holds a PhD from the University of Sydney (focussing on Offenbach), a Master of Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong and a Diploma of Music Education. He taught in NSW high schools before joining the Opera Australia chorus. He also performed and understudied many principal roles and was soloist with several local symphony orchestras.
For 10 years Robert was State then National President of the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing and taught at both Western Sydney and Macquarie Universities. He is also a popular lecturer for music interest groups and has written program notes for OA and several Australian symphony orchestras. Robert’s operatic knowledge is wide-ranging and as a practitioner he has gained great insights into the craft and art of music- and theatre-making. He currently sings with the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Choir and is Chairman of the OA Benevolent Fund.
Robert first led a tour to Hamburg for Wagner’s Ring Cycle in 2010 and has since led tours to Riga, St Petersburg, Berlin, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Brisbane and Sydney for an eclectic mix of opera, ballet and orchestral concerts. His personal cultural travels have taken him to London, several other European capitals, New York and other US cities.
Our four-star hotel is very conveniently located in midtown Manhattan, on 54th Street. We have booked premier-plus grade rooms. These are large and comfortable, each with modern amenities. The hotel is in walking distance of many of New York’s most popular attractions. The hotel has just completed a major renovation. The Warwick has an interesting history. It was built in 1926 for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, primarily as a residence for his Hollywood friends, among whom was his mistress Marion Davies. Over the years guests have included James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Actor Cary Grant lived in the Warwick for 12 years.
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.
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.
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.
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