It’s cold outside, but the singing is hot! Take 10 days out of the Australian summer to enjoy singing, orchestral music and stage productions of the highest calibre on our Opera in New York tour. We have 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 range of New York’s top collections, including a private visit to the Museum of Modern Art, smaller and more intimate collections such as the Frick, architectural tours and free time to relax.
The careers of the operatic firmament’s greatest singers and conductors: Netrebko, Yoncheva, Skelton, Margaine, Radvanovsky, Dudamel and Nézet-Séguin
Glorious vocal music from the core 19th and early 20th-century repertoires
The production history of leading stage directors: Franco Zeffirelli, Sir David McVicar, Sir Jonathan Miller, Sir Richard Eyre and Bartlett Sher
In-depth analysis of productions and performers, to expand your musical knowledge and help you get more out of performances
Verdi’s Shakespearean opera Otello. The all-star cast is led by tenor Stuart Skelton, with Sonya Yoncheva as Desdemona. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel makes his Met Opera debut
Russian diva Anna Netrebko as Adriana Lecouvreur in Cilea’s eponymous drama of love, rivalry and murder. A David McVicar production
Franco Zeffirelli’s celebrated production of Verdi’s Aida. Met regulars Sonya Radvanovsky and Dolores Zajick star, with Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee as Radamès
Debussy’s landmark Pelléas et Mélisande. Incoming Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Jonathan Miller production
Bizet’s ever-popular Carmen. Mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine has been asked back to reprise her remarkable 2017 portrayal
A concert by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra of works by Beethoven and Rachmaninov
Days 1–3: Meet for welcome drinks, enjoy an architectural tour of Midtown Manhattan, visit the intimate Frick Collection and tour Rockefeller Center. Performance of Verdi’s Otello.
Days 4–6: Admire Klimt at the Neue Galerie, spend a day at the Met, and walk along the rejuvenated High Line. Performance of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur and Zeffirelli’s production of Verdi’s Aida.
Days 7–10: Visit the Guggenheim Museum and the stunning Morgan Library; take a private after-hours tour of MoMA. Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, a performance of Beethoven and Rachmaninov by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and Bizet’s Carmen. Free morning and departure.
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, United and American Airlines offer daily flights. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the letters B, L and D.
Wednesday 9 January: Arrive New York
Meet your tour leader and fellow tour participants over welcome drinks and finger food in our hotel.
Thursday 10 January: Midtown and Verdi
This morning a specialist architectural guide shows us some of the remarkable 20th century architecture of Midtown Manhattan. We survey ‘Beaux Arts’ style buildings such as Grand Central, Art Deco skyscrapers and sleek ‘mid-century modern’ buildings. After a welcome lunch, Belinda Montgomery guides us through tonight’s performance at the Lincoln Center. Verid’s Otello features soprano Sonya Yoncheva, who emerged just a few years ago and is now one of the most in-demand divas in the world. Australian tenor Stuart Skelton is an experienced exponent of the title role, while charismatic Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel conducts. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera Program: Verdi, Otello Performers: Stuart Skelton (Otello), Sonya Yoncheva (Desdemona), Željko Lučić (Iago)
Friday 11 January: 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. This evening is free, but there are plenty of performance options available, including a Broadway play or musical, the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. (B)
Saturday 12 January: Art and Design and a Met Matinee
After a talk on Adriana Lecouvreur 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. Seeing the great Russian diva Anna Netrebko live will surely be a highlight for many tour participants. (B)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera Program: Francesco Cilea, Adriana Lecouvreur Performers: Anna Netrebko (Adriana), Piotr Beczala (Maurice), Anita Rachvelishvili (The Princess), Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)
Sunday 13 January: 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, if the weather is good, 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. Along the way 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 14 January: The Met Museum and Verdi
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, Belinda. In the afternoon there is a pre-performance talk on Verdi’s much-loved Aida, a mix of scenic grandeur and intimate emotions. Before the performance we will share a light dinner. (B, D)
In the mid-morning there is a background talk on Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. As the work and the musical style will be unfamiliar, Belinda Montgomery’s careful analysis will add greatly to your understanding and enjoyment. In the afternoon we 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 we return to the Lincoln Center for our performance. (B)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera Program: Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande Performers: Isobel Leonard (Mélisande), Paul Appleby (Pelléas), Yannick Nézet-Séguin (conductor)
Wednesday 16 January: JP Morgan Library – New York Philharmonic
Late 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, Belinda introduces tonight’s concert, featuring works from the very beginning and the very end of the Romantic Style. Renowned Israeli pianist Yefim Bronfman is joined by incoming chief conductor Jap Van Zweden. (B, L)
Performance details Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center Program: Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 2, Rachmaninov, Symphony No.2 Performers: New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Yefim Bronfman, Jap Van Zweden
Thursday 17 January : MoMA
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 the the powerful Richard Eyre production of Carmen, a Met favourite since its 2009 premiere. An excellent international cast of mainly young singers guarantees a satisfying final evening. (B, D)
Performance details Venue: Metropolitan Opera Program: Bizet, Carmen Performers: Clémentine Margaine (Carmen), Roberto Alagna (Don José), Aleksandra Kurzak (Michaëla), Alexander Vinogradov (Escamillo), Omer Meir Wellber (conductor)
Friday 18 January: 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 graduate of both the University of Sydney and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she taught musicology for 13 years.
Lindy Montgomery is a music educator and performer with over twenty five years’ of experience in her field. She has been involved in a number of school tours throughout Europe and the United States and has led groups to Germany, Canada and the USA for Academy Travel. She has also toured widely throughout Australia, Europe and Asia as both a soloist and as a member of various choral groups.
Lindy holds a Bachelor of Music Education, majoring in piano from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as well as a Bachelor of Music (Hons), majoring in singing from the University of Sydney. She has taught all age groups, from primary music, through high school and including thirteen years in the Musicology Department of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, tutoring in Aural Perception, Solfège and Harmony. Lindy currently holds the position of Co-ordinator of Vocal Studies at Ascham School.
As a soprano, Lindy has made many solo appearances with the Sydney Chamber Choir, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, Cantillation and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. She is also a regular performer with smaller ensembles such as The Marais Project, Synergy Percussion and Halcyon.
Lindy’s first tour with Academy was to Germany, focusing on cities with particular significance to the history of western music – Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Munich. She recently returned from Canada and the United States, where, among other musical delights, her group was treated to a private chamber concert in beautiful Quebec City, the mighty Boston Symphony and, naturally, The Metropolitan Opera. Future destinations include the sublime beauty of Prague, Budapest and Vienna.
For Lindy, the opportunity to lead an Academy Tour combines all her passions in one, immersive experience:
“I love to perform, whether it’s singing in front of an audience, or holding forth on an upcoming concert or opera. Preparing a lecture and sharing my love of the repertoire with an attentive group really enhances the concert-going experience for me as well. Knowing that I have illuminated the music and provided informative context for my group is deeply satisfying. A music tour with Academy Travel is exactly the kind of holiday I would choose for myself so there’s a lovely sense of community and connection from the very start.”
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.
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.