Jul 19 - 28, 2018
10 days
$8,850per person, twin share (land content only). $1,500 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Jul 19 - 28, 2018

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$8,850per person, twin share (land content only). $1,500 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Wagner’s tetralogy, Der Ring des Nibelungen, is considered by many music lovers to be the pinnacle of the Western music tradition. It combines intense, heroic drama with orchestral and vocal writing which is both vast in scale and highly innovative. A special journey to see The Ring is a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. Academy Travel has selected the Munich Ring Cycle in 2018 for its fine production, which premiered in 2013, an unsurpassable singing cast, and the musical leadership of Kirill Petrenko, the Russian-Austrian maestro who is at the forefront of today’s younger generation of conductors. We’ve also included two additional performances taking place at the time of the Munich Ring.


  • Andreas Kriegenburg’s lucid and compelling interpretation of Wagner’s masterpiece
  • Musical direction by young conductor Kirill Petrenko
  • An outstanding cast of singers headed by Nina Stemme, Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Kampe and Wolfgang Koch
  • Expert pre and post-performance talks to heighten your enjoyment
  • A song recital and a rare Verdi opera in addition to the Ring Cycle
  • Excursions to music-related sites in and around Munich



Best available tickets to six performances are included.

  • All four operas in the Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, performed in the space of a week
  • A recital by fine Polish tenor Piotr Beczala
  • Verdi’s rarely-performed grand opera, Les vêpres siciliennes, starring Carmen Giannattasio, Bryan Hymel and Erwin Schrott
  • A day with Wagner’s patron, Ludwig II, visiting castles and galleries
  • Visits to a selection of Munich’s best art museums

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Arrive and settle in. Meet fellow participants over drinks and canapes.

Day 2: Morning talk, welcome lunch and Das Rheingold.

Days 3: Visit Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and other sites associated with Ludwig II.

Days 4–6: Performances of Die Walküre, Siegfried and Piotr Beczala’s song recital, with pre-performance talks and gallery visits.

Days 7–8: Visit some of Munich’s superb art galleries and attend Les vêpres siciliennes.

Day 9: Pre-performance talk, a fine farewell lunch and Götterdämmerung.

Day 10: Transfer to Munich airport.

There are currently no places available on this tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details above.

Getting There

Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Etihad offer daily flights into Munich. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

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

Day 1 | Thursday July 19: Arrival

You should arrange your travels to arrive at our Munich hotel by the late afternoon. In the early evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the hotel for drinks and canapes. (C)

Day 2 | Friday July 20: Das Rheingold

In this morning’s pre-performance talk, Robert Gay introduces Wagner’s epic cycle before focusing on the cycle’s preliminary evening. We then enjoy a welcome lunch in a private room in one of Munich’s finest restaurants. Our performance of Das Rheingold commences at 7.00pm.  (B, L)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre, Bavarian State Opera

Program: Wagner’s Das Rheingold

Day 3 | Saturday July 21: The Ludwig Castles

King Ludwig II of Bavaria saw his first Wagner opera at the age of 15, and subsequently became perhaps the most obsessed Wagnerian of all time. Today we visit two of his famous Bavarian castles: Linderhof, a tiny neo-rococo villa set amidst beautifully landscaped grounds; and Neuschwanstein, a breathtaking fairy-tale chateau complete with replica of the Singers’ Hall from the Wartburg depicted in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, and decorated with wall paintings of scenes from his idol’s music dramas. Lunch in a country restaurant.  (B, L)

Day 4 | Sunday July 22: Die Walküre

This morning’s talk examines Die Walküre, the best-known opera of the Ring, and the one in which we meet the principal characters of the work. Key narrative elements are introduced and key musical ideas presented. The remainder of the day is free to explore Munich, and we recommend a visit to one of the city’s many excellent art museums. Tonight’s performance commences at 5.00pm (B)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre, Bavarian State Opera

Program: Wagner’s Die Walküre

Day 5 | Monday July 23: Piotr Beczala recital

Today is free to further explore Munich. This evening we take a break from Wagner with a song recital by the fine Polish lyric tenor Piotr Beczala. Beczala’s repertoire spans from Mozart to Puccini, and he has sung roles such as Tamino (The Magic Flute), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), The Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Lenski (Eugene Onegin) and Rodolfo (La Bohème) at all the great opera houses of the world. (B)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre, Bavarian State Opera

Program: to be announced

Performers: Piotr Beczala (tenor)

Day 6 | Tuesday July 24: Siegfried

The third music-drama in the Ring Cycle, Siegfried, contains perhaps the pivotal episodes and character development of the work. But it is also the least known work of the cycle. This morning Robert Gay takes you through the music and plotlines in preparation for this evening’s performance. The remainder of the day is free. The curtain rises at 5.00pm. (B)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre, Bavarian State Opera

Program: Wagner’s Siegfried

Day 7 | Wednesday July 25: Free day

The entire day is free to relax, do more sightseeing, or perhaps to take a day trip to nearby Nuremberg which is only a little over an hour away by train and has rewarding Wagnerian connections.  (B)

Day 8 | Thursday July 26: Les Vêpres siciliennes

We are indeed fortunate to be able to include Verdi’s rarely-performed Les Vêpres siciliennes in our program. The Bavarian State Opera has chosen the original French version of the work, a grand opera in five acts from Verdi’s middle period. Les Vêpres siciliennes is a highly charged political story of a Sicilian uprising against French rule in the 13th century. Composed in the mid 1850s, Verdi clearly meant the work to encourage his fellow countrymen to shake off their own yoke of oppression. In this morning’s talk, Robert Gay will place the opera in its historical and musical context. The afternoon, before the 6.00pm performance, is free.  (B)

Performance details

Program: Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes

Performers: Carmen Giannatasio (Hélène), Bryan Hymel (Henri), Erwin Schrott (Procida), Omer Meir Wellber (conductor)

Day 9 | Friday July 27: Götterdämmerung

The final work in the Ring Cycle is also the longest, containing grand, dramatic scenes and fine orchestral passages, such as Siegfried’s Rhine journey and his funeral music. After Robert Gay’s analysis of this important work, we share a farewell lunch. The performance begins at 4.00pm. (B, L)

Performance details

Venue: National Theatre, Bavarian State Opera

Program: Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Day 10 | Saturday July 28: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Transfers to Munich airport are included for travellers booking their flights through Academy Travel. (B)

Robert Gay

Is one of Australia’s leading music tour leaders and music educators. He has designed and led more than 80 performance based tours to Europe and the US.

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


Munich, Maximilian Hotel & Apartments (9 nights)

The 4-star-superior Maximilian Hotel and Apartments has been selected principally for its location, right in the heart of the Bavarian capital, 600 meters from the National Theatre, home of the Bavarian State Opera. The accommodation is spacious, modern and  comfortable with a fully-equipped kitchenette, a dining table and desk, as well as
a sofa or recliner to relax. Bathrooms are large and equipped with a shower over the bathtub. Other features of the hotel are a sizable city garden, a wellness spa and the Restaurant “kleines Max” with summer terrace. Many of Munich’s major attractions, including the Residenz, the Frauenkirche and the Viktualienmarkt, are only a short walk

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.

Fitness rating

Grade 1

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.

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Speak to a consultant

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

Detailed Itinerary

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