Mar 5 - 19, 2020
15 days
$11,590per person, twin share (land content only). $2,360 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Royna McNamara
Mar 5 - 19, 2020

Tour Leader

Royna McNamara$11,590per person, twin share (land content only). $2,360 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Opera is an iconic Italian art form, and where better to enjoy it than the place of its birth? This 15-day tour takes you to eight performances at historic venues – including Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Teatro Regio in Turin. The performances are complemented by visits to the places where the composers lived and worked, allowing you to appreciate the history and the personalities behind the music. Staying in Venice, Milan, Parma and Turin, this musical journey is rounded out with visits to world-class museums and fine dining.


Performance Program

Eight performances are included, in some of Italy’s most celebrated music venues. The tour price includes the best available tickets to five operas, a song recital, an orchestral concert and one evening of chamber music. Our website will be updated in September 2019 as more performance details become available.

In Venice

  • A concert of chamber music performed by the Interpreti Veneziani at the Chiesa di San Vidal
  • An opera at Teatro La Fenice

In Milan

  • Rossini’s opera Il turco in Italia at Teatro alla Scala, with internationally acclaimed Rosa Feola playing Donna Fiorilla
  • Celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta conducting Mahler’s epic Symphony No 3 in d minor at Teatro alla Scala
  • Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk sings works by Glinka & Mussorgsky, with Semjon Skigin on piano at Teatro alla Scala
  • A new production of Richard Strauss’s opera Salome, conducted by Riccardo Chailly (Director of Teatro alla Scala)

In Parma

  • Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Teatro Regio di Parma, with ‘Abbiata Award’ winner Monica Bacelli playing Mélisande

In Turin

  • One of Puccini’s finest operas, La Bohème at the Teatro Regio di Torino, conducted by Daniel Orion. Dinara Alieva, currently at the Bolshoi Theatre, plays Mimi and Fabio Sartori, who made his professional debut singing this role at La Fenice, plays Rodolfo

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–4: In Venice, attend a concert of chamber at the Chiesa di San Vidal and an opera at La Fenice, explore Venice’s historic architecture and marvel at Titian and the Bellini in the Accademia.

Days 5–9: Travel to Milan and attend four operas at La Scala, admire masterpieces by Piero della Francesca, Veronese and Caravaggio at the Brera, enjoy lunch at Lake Como’s stunning Villa d’Este.

Days 10–11: Explore Renaissance Parma, one of Emilia-Romagna’s refined centres, investigate Verdi’s early years, visiting his Villa Sant’Agata, and attend an opera at Teatro Regio di Parma.

Days 12–15: In Turin, attend an opera at Teatro Regio and marvel at the Egyptian Museum.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at our hotel in Venice and ends at Milan Malpensa airport. Emirates and Qatar Airways offer direct flights into Venice and onwards from Milan Malpensa airport. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

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

Thursday March 5: Arrive Venice

In the evening, meet Royna McNamara and your fellow tour participants in the hotel for welcome drinks, canapés and a light dinner in an excellent Venetian restaurant. Overnight Venice. (C, D)

Friday March 6: Wagner in Venice – Performance I

This morning we take a guided walking tour of the city ending at the Palazzo Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. Richard Wagner rented the entire piano nobile of the palace in 1882 and died there in February 1883. The afternoon is free to explore the historic ghetto or perhaps the nearby church of Madonna dell’ Orto, with many works by Tintoretto. This evening we attend a concert of chamber music at the Chiesa di San Vidal, sampling music written at the dawn of the golden age of Italian opera. Overnight Venice (B)

Performance details
Venue: Chiesa di San Vidal
Program: Baroque chamber, including works by Vivaldi
Performers: Interpreti Veneziani

Saturday March 7: Torcello – Performance II

After a pre-performance talk, we travel by water taxi to the northern reaches of the Venetian lagoon to visit the island of Torcello. After visiting the fine 11th-century basilica with its Byzantine mosaics, we enjoy lunch at Locanda Cipriani, one of Venice’s most celebrated restaurants. This evening our performance takes place at La Fenice, Venice’s beautiful opera house. Overnight Venice (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro La Fenice
Program: to be announced September 2019
Performers: to be announced September 2019

Sunday March 8: Masterpieces of Venetian Art

Today, we sample some of Venice’s immense artistic heritage, visiting three sites that remain off the mainstream tourist path: Bellini’s superb altarpiece of 1505 in the church of San Zaccaria, Carpaccio’s paintings of St George and other saints at the confraternity house of the Croatians and the Renaissance architectural jewel of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Venice (B)

Monday March 9: Teatro alla Scala – Performance III

On arrival in Milan, we share lunch at chef Carlo Cracco’s restaurant in the Victor Emmanuel Gallery. For more than 100 years this restaurant has been the haunt of composers, singers and conductors. Milan has been a major cultural centre since the Renaissance, but it was in the 19th century that its opera house became the most famous in the world. This evening’s recital at Teatro alla Scala features up-and-coming Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk. Overnight Milan (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: Works by Glinka and Mussorgsky
Performers: Ekaterina Semenchuk, mezzo-soprano
Semjon Skugun, piano

Tuesday March 10: Casa di Riposo per Musicisti – Verdi – Performance IV

This morning we take a walking tour of Milan and visit Teatro alla Scala and its fine museum. After a break for lunch we continue to the ‘Casa di Riposo’, Giuseppe Verdi’s retirement home for musicians. After purchasing the land, Verdi entrusted the project to architect Camillo Boito. On writing to his friend Giulio Monteverde, Verdi described it as the finest of his life’s works. We return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Tonight’s orchestral concert is directed by the celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta and features Gustav Mahler’s epic Third Symphony. Overnight Milan (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: Symphony No 3 in d minor – Gustav Mahler
Conductor: Zubin Mehta
Performers: Teatro all Scala Chorus and Orchestra featuring Daniela Sindram – contralto

Wednesday March 11: Brera Gallery – Performance V

After a talk on this evening’s opera, we visit the Brera gallery, a world-class collection of paintings including works by Bellini, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio and Rembrandt. The later afternoon is at leisure to relax before this evening’s performance. Tonight, Italian Riccardo Chailly leads a performance of Richard Strauss’s high-voltage music drama, Salome. The excellent cast features Swedish dramatic soprano in the title role and fine German baritone Michael Volle as John the Baptist. Overnight Milan (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: Salome – Richard Strauss
Conductor: Riccardo Chailly
Performers: Malin Byström (Salome) Michael Volle (John the Baptist), chorus and orchestra of la Scala, Milan

Thursday March 12: Villa d’Este on Lake Como

The lake with its light and reflections has fascinated and inspired artists, writers and musicians for centuries. Franz Liszt came to Lake Como in September 1837 and, in a letter written in the first month said, ‘I know of no other place that is so manifestly blessed.’ Today we explore the lake by private launch, visiting the town of Bellagio, then travel by launch to the Renaissance-era Villa d’Este, one of Europe’s grandest hotels for more than a century. Here we enjoy lunch al fresco on the lakefront. Overnight Milan (B, L)

Friday March 13: Villa Necchi Campiglio – Performance VI

After a pre-performance talk, we enjoy a guided tour of the Villa Necchi Campiglio, a triumph of early 20th-century architecture and decorative art, illustrating Milan’s pre-eminence as a city of industry and design. The rest of the day is free with many galleries to visit and, of course, there’s the ‘quadrilato della moda’ to stroll, Milan’s internationally famous fashion district. Italian soprano Rosa Feola leads tonight’s performance of one of Rossini’s most sparkling comedies. Overnight Milan (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro alla Scala
Program: Il turco in Italia – Rossini
Conductor: Diego Fasolis
Performers: Alex Esposito (Selim), Rosa Feola (Donna Fiorilla)

Saturday March 14: To Parma – Performance VII

We depart for the elegant city of Parma, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region. After a break for lunch, we take a guided tour of the town, including the Romanesque cathedral and baptistery and the Renaissance-era Teatro Farnese. This evening we attend a performance at the Teatro Regio di Parma, built in 1829, and rich in gold and stucco work. The theatre is well known for its annual Verdi festival. Overnight Parma (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro Regio di Parma
Program: Pelléas et Mélisande – Claude Debussy
Conductor: Marco Angius
Performers: Monica Bacelli (Mélisande), Phillip Addis (Pelléas)

Sunday March 15: Antica Corte and Le Terre di Verdi

In the medieval village of Polesine Parmense and overlooking the River Po, is Antica Corte, the embodiment of contemporary Emilia-Romagna cuisine. Located in a fortified castle since the early 14th century, Antica Corte features a Michelin-starred restaurant. During our stay, we tour the Culatello and Masalen Museum in this 14th-century complex. En route to Antica Corte we explore Verdi’s homeland. We begin with his birthplace at Le Roncole, and visit the tiny Teatro Verdi in Busseto and his villa in Sant’ Agata. Overnight Parma (B, L)

Monday March 16: Basilica of Superga, Turin

Turin is recognisd as one of Italy’s great cultural centres. When entering Turin our coach will take us to Superga, a hill where Juvarra designed a basilica to commemorate Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Many royal tombs are located in this late Baroque structure, which enjoys spectacular panoramic views of Turin. This evening we enjoy a group dinner in one of Turin’s elegant restaurants. Overnight Turin. (B, D)

Tuesday March 17: Savoy and Royal Collections

This morning our guided tour explores the historic centre of Turin, focusing on the late Baroque architecture of court favourites Guarino Guarini and Filippo Juvarra. In the Cathedral of John the Baptist, designed by the latter, is one of Turin’s most famous sights, the Holy Shroud. After stopping in at San Lorenzo, a small Baroque church that adjoins the royal palaces on Piazza Castello, we break for lunch. The afternoon is at leisure but you may choose to visit the excellent royal collection of the Galleria Sabauda, which includes works by Flemish painters Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and van Dyck, alongside Renaissance masters Duccio, Botticelli, Lippi and Fra Angelico. Overnight Turin (B)

Wednesday March 18: Egyptian Museum – Performance VIII

After a pre-performance talk this morning we head to Turin’s acclaimed Egyptian Museum. The museum, housing more than 30,000 artefacts, is regarded as second only to the collections in Cairo and London. The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore this wonderful city. Our final performance is in Turin’s well-regarded Teatro Regio. Overnight Turin (B)

Performance details
Venue: Teatro Regio di Torino
Program: La Bohème – Giacomo Puccini
Conductor: Daniel Oren
Performers: Fabio Sartori (Rodolfo), Dinara Alieva (Mimi)

Thursday March 19: Departure

This morning there will be a group transfer to Milan’s Malpensa Airport. (B)

Royna McNamara

A musician, educator and conductor, with degrees from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Sydney.

Royna has organised numerous music tours to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. She has a strong personal interest in art and photography and has studied the link between travel and its impact on creativity. Royna holds a B Mus Ed from the Conservatorium of Music, where she was awarded the prize for Outstanding Final Year Student. She also holds a Masters of Education from the University of Sydney, where she was awarded a scholarship to study Music Performance Practices.

Royna also completed a conducting course with Jerry Nowak, where she expanded her repertoire by conducting school and semi-professional ensembles. She has conducted numerous concerti with some of Sydney’s leading musicians, including Clemens Leske, Joshua Tsai and Simon Tedeschi. Royna has also conducted choral and instrumental ensembles in prestigious venues such as Notre Dame in Paris, the basilica of St Mark’s in Venice, Canterbury Cathedral, Lambeth Palace and the Sydney Opera House.

For twenty years, Royna was Director of Music at Abbotsleigh and continues to use her expertise in Music Education for the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the NSW Association of Independent Schools, where she is currently the Convenor for Music Professional Learning. She has also worked as a session lecturer in Music at UNSW and the University of Sydney.

We asked Royna, what motivates you as a tour leader?

“Travel opens the mind, fosters creativity and develops cultural understanding. I find it extremely rewarding to ignite a curiosity and love of travel in others.”

“I am always open for new experiences. I believe the arts can communicate when words sometimes fail. I hope that my fellow travellers return home with fresh perspectives, greater knowledge, and a lifelong desire to keep travelling.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Hotels have been selected principally for their central location and close walking distance to the performance venues. All hotels are excellent four-star properties that are renovated palazzi.

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.

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade Two

A Grade 2 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


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Speak to a consultant

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

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