Apr 27 - May 5, 2019
9 days
$9,870per person, twin share (land content only). $2,100 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
Apr 27 - May 5, 2019

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$9,870per person, twin share (land content only). $2,100 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 secured Orchestra Prime seats for all performances at New York’s renowned Metropolitan Opera House. In our view these seats offer excellent acoustics and unobstructed sight lines of Lepage’s large stage machinery. There are two pre-Cycle workshops to acquaint us with the vast and complex musical structure and the Scandinavian-German mythology which underpins the works, as well as the historical context in which Wagner composed. There are also pre-performance talks before the last three operas in the Cycle.


  • Robert Lepage’s visually striking, faithful and coherent interpretation of Wagner’s masterpiece
  • Conducting by eminent Swiss-French conductor Philippe Jordan, Musical Director of the Opéra national de Paris
  • An outstanding cast of singers headed by Christine Goerke, Michael Volle, Stuart Skelton and Andreas Schager
  • Pre-Cycle workshops on Wagner’s music and morning pre-performance talks on other days
  • Visits to small galleries and explorations of New York’s architecture and social history


  • All four operas in the Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, performed in the space of a week
  • A private before-opening tour of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), an unrivalled collection of modern works
  • Superb medieval art at The Cloisters, on the northern tip of Manhattan
  • Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Woman in Gold’ (Adele Bloch-Bauer) and other Viennese masterpieces at the Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue
  • A stroll down the High Line, enjoying the remarkable transformation of the Chelsea neighbourhood into one of New York’s most fashionable districts

Itinerary Overview

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

Days 2–3: Two in-depth, full morning workshops, welcome lunch, JP Morgan Library and Das Rheingold.

Day 4: Morning talk, medieval art at The Cloisters, and Die Walküre.

Day 5: Chelsea, visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art and a stroll down the High Line.

Day 6: Morning talk, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and Neue Galerie, then Siegfried.

Day 7: Private morning viewing of MoMA. Optional performance of Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites.

Day 8: Pre-performance talk, a fine farewell lunch and Götterdämmerung.

Day 9: Free morning. Transfer to JFK 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

Qantas, American Airlines, Delta and United have daily flights from Australia to New York. Contact us for fares and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the letter B, L, D or C for canapés.

Saturday 27 April: Arrival

Flights from Australia generally land in the late afternoon, meaning you arrive at the hotel in the early evening. This evening, meet your tour leader and fellow travellers in the hotel for drinks and canapés. (C)

Sunday 28 April: Introducing the Ring

This morning at 10am, Robert Gay gives a 2-hour introductory talk (with coffee break) on Wagner’s epic cycle which will place it in its historical context, explore Wagner’s use of the Teutonic and Scandinavian source material, and investigate his radical new compositional procedures. Following the talk we enjoy a welcome lunch at Benoit, Alain Ducasse’s New York restaurant, just around the corner from our hotel. The later afternoon and evening are free. (B, L)

Monday 29 April: Das Rheingold

In this morning’s pre-performance talk at 10am, Robert provides a detailed analysis of Das Rheingold, which Wagner regarded as a prologue to the three following music dramas. This afternoon there will be a transfer to and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for those wishing to explore aspects of the collection, or any special exhibitions on show. We depart for the Lincoln Center at 6.30pm and our performance of Das Rheingold commences at 7.30pm. (B)

Performance details
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera
Program: Wagner’s Das Rheingold

Tuesday 30 April: Die Walküre

This morning’s 10am 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. We then head back to the Upper East Side to visit the Frick Collection, an extremely fine house museum of European fine and decorative art assembled by the Pittsburgh steel baron, Henry Clay Frick. At 5.00pm we head to the Lincoln Center, for our performance commencing at 6.00pm. (B)

Performance details
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera
Program: Wagner’s Die Walküre

Wednesday 1 May: Private MoMA Viewing

This morning we enjoy a rare privilege, a one-hour private tour of the Museum of Modern Art, given before the museum opens to the public at 10.30am. You are then free to visit the museum for the rest of the day. It is across the road from the hotel, so you can come and go as you please. We enjoy lunch at the Museum’s restaurant, The Modern, a Michelin two-star establishment overlooking the sculpture garden. The later afternoon and evening are free. (B, L)

Thursday 2 May: 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 at 10am, Robert takes you through the music and plotlines in preparation for this evening’s performance. This afternoon we visit the exquisite JP Morgan library, containing one of the world’s great collections of books and manuscripts. At 5.00pm we head to the Lincoln Center, for our performance commencing at 6.00pm. (B)

Performance details
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera
Program: Wagner’s Siegfried

Friday 3 May: Chelsea and the High Line | Optional Dialogues des Carmélites

This morning we head to the fashionable Chelsea district to catch up on this ever-changing neighbourhood. Our first stop is the Whitney Museum. Renzo Piano’s masterful building houses the nation’s premier collection of American art. As well as its renowned permanent collection, the Whitney features up-and-coming contemporary artists. We then stroll the High Line, an overhead railway that has been converted to a public park, stretching from 15th to 30th streets, adorned with sculpture and street art and passing by some remarkable examples of contemporary architecture. This evening you have the option of returning to the Met for Francis Poulenc’s modern operatic masterpiece Dialogues des Carmélites. Incoming Met musical director Yannick Nézet-Seguin leads an outstanding cast, with veteran Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Mme de Croissy. Tickets will be approximately $US220. (B)

Optional performance details
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera
Program: Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites
Performers: Isabel Leonard, Adrianne Pieczonka, Erin Morley, Karen Cargill and Karita Mattila

Saturday 4 May: 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’s morning analysis of this towering work, the remainder of the day is free. At 4.30pm we head to the Lincoln Center for our 6.00pm performance. Our farewell dinner takes place at the Met Opera’s Grand Tier restaurant during long intervals in the performance. (B, D)

Performance details
Venue: The Metropolitan Opera
Program: Wagner’s Götterdämmerung

Sunday 5 May: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Afternoon transfers to JF Kennedy 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

The Warwick Hotel

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.

Academy has been working with our selected hotel, the Warwick, since 2010. More details at: www.warwickhotelny.com

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.

Tour Full Join Waitlist

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)

Detailed Itinerary

Download now

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 seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.


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