April 2018 sees a star-studded line up of performers at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, unrivalled by any other opera company anywhere in the world. Academy Travel is delighted to offer lovers of vocal music a 10-day program that includes six outstanding performances at the Met. We’ve secured seats in the Grand Tier for all performances, in our view the best seats in the theatre for acoustics and sight-lines. The performance program is complemented by visits to a select range of small galleries and museums, background talks and plenty of free time to relax and enjoy New York.
Some of the greatest stars in the operatic firmament: Anna Netrebko, Joyce Di Donato, Sonya Yoncheva, Pretty Yende, Placido Domingo
Glorious vocal music from Mozart to Puccini
Superb productions by leading stage directors: Bartlett Sher, Laurent Pelly, Sir David McVicar, Elijah Moshinsky
In-depth analysis of productions and performers
Grant Tier Prime seating to all performances is included in the tour price.
Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte – a new production by Phelim McDermott starring Amanda Majeski and Christopher Maltman, conducted by the SSO’s David Robertson
Verdi’s dramatic Luisa Miller – starring Sonya Yoncheva, Piotr Beczala and Placido Domingo
Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette – Bartlett Sher’s hit production, starring the brilliant young American soprano Ailyn Perez and Bryan Hymel
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor – coloratura soprano Pretty Yende has astounded audiences around the world with her performance in the title role
Massenet’s Cendrillon, – a Laurent Pelly production of the Cinderella story, starring the celebrated mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato
Puccini’s Tosca, starring Russian diva Anna Netrebko and Michael Volle in the David McVicar production
Day 1: Meet for welcome drinks.
Day 2: Downtown walking tour. Cosi Fan Tutte.
Day 3: Frick Collection, Rockefeller Center.
Day 4: Museum of Art and Design. Luisa Miller.
Day 5: Neue Galerie. Central Park.
Day 6: Met Museum. Roméo et Juliette.
Day 7: Guggenheim Museum. Cendrillon.
Day 8: JP Morgan library. Lucia di Lammermoor.
Day 9: MoMA private viewing. Tosca.
Day 10: Free morning. Airport transfers.
A limited number of places remain on this tour and as such, internet bookings are not taken. Please contact our travel consultant listed above if you wish to make a booking.
Qantas and United Airlines fly regularly to the East Coast. Contact us for competitive quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday 18 April: Arrive New York
Meet your tour leader and fellow tour participants over welcome drinks and finger food in our hotel.
Thursday 19 April: Downtown – Così fan tutte
Local guide Matt Postal takes us through the Times Square, Madison Park, Chelsea and SoHo districts to the Financial District, where we explore the history and architecture of Manhattan’s downtown. After a welcome lunch at the historic Fraunces Tavern, Christopher Menz guides us through tonight’s opera, Mozart’s comedy Così fan tutte. Sopranos Amanda Majeski and Serena Malfi lead the excellent cast, with English baritone Christopher Maltman as the cynical Don Alfonso and the Sydney Symphony’s David Robertson conducting. 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. (B, L)
Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Mozart, Così fan tutte
Performers: Amanda Majeski (Fiordiligi), Serena Malfi (Dorabella), Kelli O’Hara (Despina), Christopher Maltman (Don Alfonso), David Robertson (conductor)
Friday 20 April: Frick Collection – Rockefeller Center
This morning we visit the former Fifth Avenue home of ‘robber baron’ Henry Clay Frick. Set on an entire block, this elegant home has been a museum since shortly after Frick’s death in 1913. It contains a superb collection of Renaissance to 18th-century European art, accompanied by exquisite furniture and decorative arts. This afternoon we visit the Rockefeller Center, completed in the Great Depression and a supreme example of New York skyscraper architecture. Christopher Menz gives a background talk on Verdi’s Luisa Miller in one of the Center’s meeting rooms. This evening is free, but there are plenty of performance options available, including the New York Philharmonic and an orchestral concert at Carnegie Hall. (B)
Saturday 21 April: Museum of Art and Design – Luisa Miller
We depart the hotel on foot, calling in first at the Museum of Art and Design, overlooking Central Park on Columbus Circle. The Museum hosts constantly-changing exhibitions of decorative arts and design from around the world. We continue the short distance to the Lincoln Center, and our matinee performance of Verdi’s Luisa Miller. Written in the period immediately before Il Trovatore, La Traviata and Rigoletto, the dramatic tale of Luisa and her father is brimming with typically Verdian motifs – father-daughter relationships, public and private morality, not to mention a love triangle. Soprano Sonya Yoncheva sings the title role. Yoncheva thrilled New York audiences in January 2016 with her performances in La Traviata (seen by an Academy Travel group). She was invited back to open the Met’s 2016-17 season and since then she has performed in many of the great opera houses of the world. Polish tenor Piotr Beczala returns to the Met after a 10-year absence and veteran Placido Domingo sings the baritone role of Miller in this Elijah Moshinsky production. Former Met music director James Levine makes a welcome return to the pit. (B)
Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Verdi, Luisa Miller
Performers: Sonya Yoncheva (Luisa), Piotr Beczala (Rodolfo), Placido Domingo (Miller), James Levine (conductor)
Sunday 22 April: 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. On our stroll we learn a little of the Park’s history and design. Alternatively, you might like to catch a Sunday matinee performance at Carnegie Hall or a Broadway theatre. (B)
Monday 23 April: The Met Museum – Opening Night
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 may also call in at the Met’s new campus on Madison Avenue, the Met Breuer. After lunch at the Museum, Christopher Menz will give a background talk on this evening’s performance. Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette features fine dramatic scenes and some brilliant vocal writing. Young American soprano Ailyn Pérez is perfectly cast as Juliette. Her voice combines bright tone, technical agility and dramatic depth. Opposite her is tenor Bryan Hymel as Roméo. Hymel recently debuted as Don Carlo at London’s Covent Garden, immediately after portraying Don Josė in Carmen at the Paris Opera. Placido Domingo conducts the opening night performance. (B,L)
Your day begins with a background talk on Jules Massenet’s sparkling Cendrillon, a re-telling of the Cinderella story. We then head to the Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side. Housed in Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic spiral-shaped building on Fifth Avenue, the Guggenheim has both an excellent permanent collection and large-scale visiting exhibitions of modern art. This evening’s performance promises to be a highlight of the tour. The great American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato stars in the title role. This new production is directed by Laurent Pelly, well known for his imaginative interpretations of the comic repertoire. Fellow cast members Alice Coote and Kathleen Kim are of a suitably high standard for Ms DiDonato.
Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Massenet, Cendrillon
Performers: Joyce DiDonato (Cendrillon), Alice Coote (Le Prince Charmant), Kathleen Kim (La Fée), Bertrand de Billy (conductor)
Wednesday 25 April: JP Morgan Library – Lucia di Lammermoor
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. The collection has expanded beyond the original pavilion and now incorporates a Renzo Piano-designed atrium and nearby buildings. After lunch in the Morgan restaurant, Christopher discusses Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Tonight’s diva, Johannesburg-born Pretty Yende, burst on to the operatic scene at the Met in 2013 as an understudy, singing opposite Juan Diego Flórez. Since then she has taken lead roles in opera houses in Berlin, Milan, London, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Hamburg and Paris. Her interpretation of Lucia is particularly renowned. The fine Italian tenor Michael Fabiano sings the role of Edgardo, while Roberto Abbado (son of legendary maestro Claudio) conducts. (B,L)
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 understandings 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. After our tour the remainder of the day is free to enjoy the museum. This evening we make our final journey to the Lincoln Center. After our farewell dinner at the Grand Tier restaurant, we attend Sir David McVicar’s production of Puccini’s Tosca. Russian dramatic soprano Anna Netrebko sings the title role, with Marcelo Alvarez as Cavaradossi and the fine German baritone Michael Volle as Scarpia. (B,D)
Venue: Metropolitan Opera
Program: Puccini, Tosca
Performers: Anna Netrebko (Tosca), Marcelo Alvarez (Cavaradossi), Michael Volle (Scarpia), Bertrand de Billy (conductor)
Friday 27 April: Departure
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.
A former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia and previously a curator of decorative arts. He is also an experienced cultural tour leader.
Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia (2005–10) and in 2011–12 was Acting Director of The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne. Prior to these roles, he held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the National Gallery of Victoria, specialising in decorative arts. He has published extensively on the decorative arts, notably the design work of William Morris, and is a regular contributor to ABR. In 2016 Christopher led the ABR/Academy Travel tour to the United States.
Our four-star hotel is very conveniently located in midtown Manhattan, on 54th Street. We have booked premier plus 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 recently 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. www.warwickhotelny.com
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.