Aug 10 - 14, 2021
5 days
$3,870per person, twin share (land content only). $740 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Aug 10 - 14, 2021

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$3,870per person, twin share (land content only). $740 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Academy Travel is delighted to present a four-night program in Sydney for lovers of the performing and visual arts. The itinerary is based around four outstanding performances: A reprise of the Sydney Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Eryn Jane Norvill; a concert of works by Britten and Shostakovich by members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Opera Australia’s The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, a brand new co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the smash hit musical Hamilton. We have excellent seats for all events.

Around the performances we have woven a program of gallery visits and experiences designed to show off some of Sydney’s hidden treasures. We have also included dining in some excellent restaurants. Accommodation is in the luxurious Fullerton Hotel, located in the former GPO of Sydney on Martin Place.

COVID-19 cancellation policy

The following special cancellation and refund conditions applies to this tour.

  • If you book on this tour and then find that you are unable to travel due to Government imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions we will provide a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close to the tour start date you become ineligible to travel, but you must inform us within 24 hours of becoming personally unable to travel in order to obtain a full refund.
  • If the tour cannot proceed due to Government imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions, the tour will be cancelled and all participants will receive a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close the cancellation occurs to the start date of the tour.


  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Eryn Jane Norvill’s virtuosic solo performance in this adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s dark novella was the hit of the Sydney Theatre Company’s 2020 season. It returns for a limited season in 2021.
  • The Tales of Hoffman – An international team has been assembled for Opera Australia’s new production. Damiano Michieletto directs an impressive cast, led by soprano Jessica Pratt, who takes on all four female leads. Next year the same production moves to the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
  • Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s once-in-a-generation musical is having a sell-out run in Sydney. Hamilton tells the dramatic story of one of the founding fathers of the United States with witty, poetic dialogue and an inventive score.
  • A private launch takes us to the Quarantine Station on North Head and then to lunch in a secluded restaurant overlooking Clifton Gardens.

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Meet your tour leaders Robert & Penny Gay at The Fullerton Hotel and enjoy a talk in the hotel followed by a performance.

Day 2: A private launch on the Fleetwing II takes us to the Quarantine Station at Manly for a private tour, followed by lunch at Ripples overlooking Chowder Bay.  Tonight, we enjoy a performance by Britten and Shostakovich at the City Recital Hall.

Day 3: After a talk, we visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales for lunch and see the Archibald Prize exhibition and the Archie 100 exhibition.  Enjoy an evening performance of Tales of Hoffman.

Day 4: After a talk, we tour White Rabbit gallery followed by lunch.  Tonight, we enjoy Hamilton at the Lyric Theatre.

Day 5: The tour end after breakfast.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at 3pm on August 10 at the Fullerton Hotel.
The tour ends after breakfast on August 14 at the Fullerton Hotel

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Independent check in to the Fullerton Hotel from 2pm. At 4.00pm meet your fellow tour participants as Professor Penny Gay discusses the STC’s production of The Picture of Dorian Gray. We then head to the Roslyn Packer Theatre for a pre-theatre dinner at the Walsh Bay Kitchen before our 7.30pm performance. There is a coach transfer back to the hotel afterwards. (D)

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

This morning we walk down to the King St Wharf, where the 38-foot motor catamaran Fleetwing takes us on a private cruise up Sydney Harbour to the Quarantine Station at North Head. Here a guide explains the history of this beautiful site. We then head to Clifton Gardens, an exclusive harbourfront neighbourhood. We enjoy lunch at Ripples, a restaurant in a historic building overlooking the beach. We return in the mid-afternoon. At 5.30pm Robert Gay gives a talk preparing us for our performance of two works by Britten (Prelude and Fugue for strings and the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings) and Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony. The concert takes place in the nearby City Recital Hall. After the performance you might like to gather for snacks and drinks in the hotel bar. (B, L)

Thursday, 12 August 2021

This morning Robert gives an overview of Offenbach’s opéra fantastique, considered by many his finest work. We then visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales for lunch. Following lunch, we visit the Archibald Prize exhibition and the Archie 100 exhibition, unearthing some of the fascinating stories behind more than 100 artworks which have been carefully selected form every decade.  This evening we take the light rail to the Sydney Opera House for The Tales of Hoffmann. (B, L)

Friday, 13 August 2021

This morning after a heritage tour of the Fullerton Hotel, US historian Dr Richard Bell gives a talk on Hamilton. Richard provides both an overview of the production and an expert appraisal of the way the story is told. The talk is transmitted live on to a large screen from Maryland in the USA. We then head to fashionable Chippendale for lunch at Bistro Gavoche and to see the remarkable contemporary Chinese art shown at the White Rabbit, a private gallery run by philanthropist Judith Nielsen. This evening a coach takes us to and from the Lyric Theatre in Pyrmont for the performance of Hamilton. (B, L)

Saturday, 14 August 2021

The tour ends after breakfast. (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

The Fullerton Hotel,  Sydney (4 nights)

We have reserved rooms in this five-star luxury hotel in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. Fullerton Hotel Sydney

Tour Inclusions

  • 4 nights’ accommodation and breakfast at The Fullerton Hotel Sydney
  • Private cruise on Sydney Harbour
  • Dining at some of Sydney’s best restaurants
  • Private guided tour of Salon Des Refuses
  • Performance tickets included in the itinerary
  • Travel on excursions by private coach
  • In-depth performance talks by Robert & Penny Gay
  • All group tipping

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


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.

Tour Full Join Waitlist

Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Fergus Geddes or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

Next Departure

If these dates don't work for you, register to hear about the next tour.

Join Waitlist

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.


Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.

Hold a Place

Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for 48 hours while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.


Sign up to our mailing list for tour updates and latest news.