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Shakespeare & his world 12–17 June 2012 (my 291) 6 days • £1,920 (includes tickets to 5 performances) Lecturer: Charles Nicholl An exceptional theatrical experience: five Shakespeare plays, visits to related sites, talks and discussions. At Stratford with the Royal Shakespeare Company: King John, Julius Caesar and Richard III. In London: The Comedy of Errors at the Roundhouse and Henry V at the Globe, the reconstruction of the theatre where it was probably first performed. With a dazzling succession of top-rank productions, daily talks and discussions, meetings with directors and visits to places known to Shakespeare, our annual ‘Shakespeare and his World’ provides an incredibly rich theatrical experience. The Royal Shakespeare Company – ‘probably the most famous classical theatre company in the world’ – provides three of the plays in their theatre at Stratford. This re-opened last year after a three-year building and refurbishment programme; even the larger of the two auditoria (capacity 1,000) has no seat more than 13 metres from the stage. Though a replica of the 1599 building as exact as available evidence allows, the reconstructed Globe on Bankside is no mere antiquarian exercise or meretricious tourist attraction. Productions here are vital, demotic, Continued overleaf.... Left: Julius Caesar, Act III Scene II, wood engraving after John Gilbert from ‘The Works of Shakespeare, vol. III’ 1866.
March Update 2012 Drottningholm & Confidencen..3 Opera in Macerata & Pesaro.......4 Trasimeno Music Festival............5 Baroque & Rococo......................5 Haydn in Eisenstadt....................6
Walking on Samos & Chios.......7 Walking Hadrian’s Wall.............7 Connoisseur’s Prague..................9 Bohemia..................................... 10 Music in Brno & Prague........... 10
the new & the newly launched
Opera in Cardiff........................ 11 Country House Opera............... 11 Torre del Lago........................... 11 Naples: art, antiquities, opera....12 Basilicata....................................13
Palladian Villas..........................13 Valencia......................................13 Sicily........................................... 14 Music at The Castle: The Schubert Ensemble............. 16
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Shakespeare & his world continued
thoughtful, hilarious, intimate and profoundly moving, with a degree of authenticity provided by an audience generally uncowed by stuffedshirt theatre-going conventions. We will buy two tickets for each participant, one for the gallery and one for the yard. If you tire of standing among the penny stinkers you can retire to the (relative) comfort of a (covered) seat, though if your back can cope you may not want to relinquish the extraordinary engagement that proximity to the stage brings. The play we see here, Henry V, was maybe the very first to be performed in the original Globe (‘this wooden O’). The other London venue is the Roundhouse in Camden, which began life in 1846 as a steam-engine repair shed and has become a major cultural venue, home to a bold and exciting programme of live music, theatre, dance, circus, installations and new media. There is another aspect to this tour: visits to sites in Stratford and London associated with Shakespeare. Some are fascinating, beautiful and moving – others less so (one is now an underground carpark), but all provide a springboard for a study of the topographical and historical context in which the plays were written. They provide a powerful aid to coming closer to Shakespeare the man and the writer and to learning about the age which shaped him, his plays and poems. Like Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, he was ‘a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’, and his observations of the quotidian and the banal characterise his work as much as his acute commentary on the grand affairs of state or the revelation of the human condition. London was where Shakespeare pursued his second career as an actor and playwright, acquired fame, achieved social advancement and made his fortune. But Stratford-uponAvon, his birthplace, remained his home. When he headed for the metropolis aged around 23, his wife, three children, parents and siblings remained behind, and he returned to them regularly. In London he was only a lodger; he bought the biggest house in
The Edinburgh Festival August 2012 Details available in March. Please register your interest now.
Stratford aged 33, and when he died there (aged 52) he may have been retired from the London stage for three or four years. Fortune has been kind to the fabric of Shakespearean Stratford, less so to his London. But in London there are sufficient physical remains and identifiable sites – the footings of two Elizabethan theatres have been revealed in recent years – for an exploration to be peculiarly rewarding. The lecturer, Charles Nicholl, is author of The Lodger, acclaimed for bringing the reader closer to Shakespeare than any other historical study, and of The Reckoning, an award-winning study of the death of Christopher Marlowe.
Itinerary Day 1: Stratford. The tour begins at the hotel in Stratford at 2.30pm with an introductory talk. A walk around Stratford includes the church of Holy Trinity where Shakespeare is buried. The RSC performs King John at the Swan Theatre, the smaller of the two RSC auditoria, directed by Maria Aberg. First of three nights in Stratford. Day 2: Stratford and around. In the morning there is an excursion to villages around Stratford associated with Shakespeare and his family, Wilmcote and Shottery. The key houses are remarkably well preserved and presented, and are set in beautifully maintained gardens. In the evening, Julius Caesar is at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, directed by Gregory Doran (RSC Chief Associate Director). Day 3: Stratford. After the morning talk there is a walk around Stratford to see more Shakespearean sites. The afternoon again is free. At the Swan Theatre, Richard III, directed by Roxana Silbert (RSC Associate Director). Day 4: London. Drive to London. A very special arrangement is being planned: details will be available in March. Check into the hotel in the City of London in the early afternoon. The evening performance at the Roundhouse in Camden is The Comedy of Errors, directed by Amir Nizar Zuabi. First of two nights in London. Day 5: London. There is a guided walk to this Shakespearean entertainment district on Bankside, the south of the Thames, including the fragmentary remains of the Rose Theatre (1587) and the reconstructed Globe (1599, 1997). The evening performance is at the Globe: Henry V, directed by Dominic Dromgoole with Jamie Parker in the title role. Day 6: London. The ten-minute walk from the City to the Theatre in Shoreditch passes
from bombastic prosperity to bohemian dilapidation, a transition which replicates the experience of the Elizabethan audience at London’s first purpose-built playhouse. Fragments were discovered in 2009. Visit also the sites of Shakespeare’s most documented lodging and of the indoor theatre at Blackfriars, second only in importance to the Globe. The tour finishes at the hotel by 12.30pm. Talks with directors and actors to be confirmed nearer the time.
Practicalities Price: £1,920 (deposit £200). This includes: tickets to 5 performances (gallery & yard tickets at the Globe); accommodation as described below; breakfasts and 4 dinners with wine, water and coffee; interval drinks and theatre programmes; transport by private coach and underground railway (the Tube); admission to houses, sites and museums visited with the group; tips for waiters, drivers, guides; the services of the lecturer and tour manager. Single supplement: £240. Lecturer: Charles Nicholl is the author of The Lodger, an intimate study of Shakespeare’s life in London, The Reckoning, a study of Marlowe’s murder which won the Hawthornden prize, the James Tait Black prize for biography and the Crime Writers’ Association ‘Gold Dagger’ award for nonfiction, the acclaimed biography Leonardo da Vinci: the Flights of the Mind and many other books. Hotels: in Stratford-upon-Avon (3 nights): the characterful Arden Hotel is well situated opposite the RSC theatres. The hotel has recently been refurbished, the rooms are comfortable and elegant. In London (2 nights): Threadneedles hotel is in the heart of the City, a Victorian banking hall with a domed stained-glass ceiling (Grade 1 listed) converted into a boutique hotel. Rooms are stylish and spacious and service is excellent. How strenuous? In Stratford, most sites and the theatres are reached on foot. Within London, there is quite a lot of walking and use of the tube (the City and Southbank don’t suit coaches). There is a play every night, though morning activities usually do not begin before 9.45am. Joining the tour. Transport to Stratfordupon-Avon, where the tour starts, is not provided. Information on access to rail timetables and tickets is sent with your confirmation of booking. The tour ends at the hotel in London. Small group: between 12 and 22 participants.
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Drottningholm & Confidencen
Orlando paladino & The Magic Flute
10–13 August 2012 (my 326) 4 days • £1,970 (including tickets for 2 operas) Lecturer: Ian Page Two operas in two historic theatres: Haydn’s Orlando paladino and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Good hotel on the waterfront in the heart of Stockholm. Plenty of free time to visit the numerous museums and collections. Very few theatres survive unchanged from the eighteenth century. Only the Drottningholm Court Theatre survives without having needed modern restoration or refurbishment, with the original stage machinery and scenery intact, and as home of a living operatic tradition of international renown. Built in 1766 for Queen Luisa Ulriki of Sweden as part of a marvellous ensemble of palace, park and lake outside Stockholm, the theatre enjoyed its heyday during the reign of her son Gustav III. But after his death in 1792 it ceased to be used and was virtually forgotten for over a century. Performances recommenced in 1922, and subsequently an annual festival developed which specialises, appropriately enough, in Baroque and Classical repertoire. The opera for 2012 is Haydn’s Orlando paladino. Drottningholm is not the only eighteenthcentury theatre in Stockholm’s watery environs. Confidencen, the theatre built in 1752 at Ulriksdal, is also part of a palace complex in a beautiful lakeside setting and, again like Drottningholm, a long period of neglect preceded its revival. But the festival here is of much more recent origin and as yet is little known outside Sweden. Artistically, it has to be said, it sets its sights lower, but productions have become increasingly accomplished. The choice of composer this year suggests, correctly, that cutting-edge adventurousness is not their mission, but it will be a marvellous setting for Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The tour is based in the centre of Stockholm, a city with many architectural and artistic riches spread across the archipelago where the waters of Lake Mäleren meet the Baltic. There is quite a lot of free time to explore the city independently.
‘The opera houses were charming and the performances quite bewitching.’
W.C., Berkshire, a participant on the tour in 2011.
Drottningholm Palace, engraving c. 1700.
Itinerary Day 1: Stockholm. Fly at c. 10.30am from London Heathrow to Stockholm. Settle into the hotel in time for an introductory talk and dinner. Day 2: Stockholm. In the morning a guided tour of the old town centre. Free afternoon; among many possible visits are the museum of the Wasa, the royal flagship which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, the spectacular display of prehistoric gold artefacts at the Museum of Antiquities and the Museum of Modern Art. Evening opera at Confidencen Theatre: The Magic Flute (Mozart). Day 3: Drottningholm. After a morning lecture, travel by boat from the centre of Stockholm to Drottningholm Palace, summer residence of the Swedish royal family since the 17th century; splendid interiors, wonderful gardens, landscaped park, exquisite Chinoiserie pavilion and theatre museum. Evening opera at Drottningholm Slottsteater: Orlando paladino (Haydn). Day 4: Stockholm. Free morning; fly to London Heathrow, arriving at c. 5.00pm.
Practicalities Price: £1,970 (deposit £200). This includes: good tickets for 2 operas; air travel (economy class) with Scandinavian Airlines (aircraft: Boeing 737-600); coach or boat for
excursions as specified in the itinerary; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts and three dinners with wine, water and coffee; admission to museums visited with the group; all gratuities for restaurant staff and drivers; all state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer. Single supplement £120. Price without flights £1,760. Opera tickets are confirmed in April. Lecturer: Ian Page is the conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera, which specializes in the works of Mozart and his contemporaries and performs regularly at such venues as Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells. Ian has worked at many other companies, including the Drottningholm Slottsteater. He recently embarked on a new project to record all the Mozart operas, and has been a professor at the Royal College of Music in London since 1993. Hotel: a 4-star hotel of character excellently situated on the waterfront of the Gamla Stan, the heart of Stockholm’s Old Town. Rooms are spacious, some with a sea view, some with a balcony facing the town. How strenuous? This is a short tour with a fair amount of free time. Nevertheless participants need to be fit enough to navigate the city centre and parks on foot and to cope easily with stair climbing. Average distance by coach per day: 12 miles. Small group: between 12 and 22 participants.
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Opera in Macerata & Pesaro Bizet, Verdi, Rossini 10–16 August 2012 (my 322) 7 days • £2,640 (including 4 opera tickets) Lecturer: Simon Rees Carmen (Bizet) and La Traviata (Verdi) at Macerata; Matilde di Shabran and Il Signor Bruschino (Rossini) at Pesaro. A good balance of music, art and architecture in picturesque towns, mediaeval and Renaissance. Talks on the operas by Simon Rees, dramaturg for Welsh National Opera. Gioachino Rossini is commemorated in his birthplace, the coastal resort of Pesaro, by an annual summer festival devoted to his music. Designed around a single composer in an appropriate location and attaining the highest artistic standards it well merits its epithet ‘the Italian Bayreuth’. The mix of well-known and little known works from Rossini’s vast oeuvre and the participation of some of the world’s greatest bel canto singers make this festival one of the most significant musical events in Italy. This year renowned tenor Juan Diego Flórez returns to the festival where he made his professional debut in 1996, reprising the role of Corradino in Matilde di Shabran. The heart of the little city of Pesaro retains its ancient walls – much of the Roman structure is evident – and a compact mass of fine buildings and picturesque streets. The hotels are located beyond the seaward walls, stretched along the magnificent beach, leaving the old city virtually untouched by the adjacent resort. The historic Teatro Rossini provides settings with an appropriate historical embrace for Rossini’s works, while the larger, modern Adriatic Arena allows for some spectacular stagings. The Macerata Opera Festival is of a markedly different character. Away from the coast, the rugged limestone landscape of The Marches is still a barrier to mainstream tourists, and to some extent to modernity generally. It follows that this remarkable festival is less international and even more traditionally Italian than its seaside cousin. While reaching the high musical standards, there is yet a bumptious integrity, a passionate simplicity about most of the performances – and the audiences. This is an open-air festival. The venue, the Arena Sferisterio, was built as a stadium in the 1820s for a ball-game of mediaeval origin. The sightlines and acoustics (by happy chance) are excellent. Macerata sits on a summit with a panorama of the surrounding hills. The seat of an ancient university and of a bishopric, it also retains
Macerata, engraving 1897.
its mediaeval walls and bemusing network of streets and alleyways, seemingly excavated through the massive masonry of the city fabric. This tour includes excursions to other enchanting mediaeval and Renaissance towns and we see some remarkable works of art tucked away in hilltop fastnesses, but the landscape plays an integral part in the visitor’s experience. There is quite a lot of driving, but through some remarkably unspoilt and attractive landscapes.
Itinerary Day 1: London to Bologna. Fly at c. 9.30am from London Heathrow to Bologna. Break for lunch in the small town of Dozza. Drive c. 3 hours to Macerata. First of three nights in Macerata. Day 2: Macerata. A morning walk explores the old walled centre of Macerata with its ancient buildings and Renaissance loggia in the main square. The afternoon is free. Evening opera: Carmen (Bizet). Overnight Macerata. Day 3: Recanati, Loreto. Excursion to Recanati to see the Beniamino Gigli Museum which contains memorabilia and documents from the singer’s life. The Pinacoteca Civica contains several paintings by Lorenzo Lotto, and San Domenico which contains frescoes by the artist. Continue to Loreto, one of the major pilgrimage centres of the Catholic world. See the Holy House and the basilica which has important frescoes by Signorelli. Evening opera: La Traviata (Verdi). Overnight Macerata.
Day 4: Fano, Pesaro. Leave Macerata and stop for a few hours in Fano, whose layout still conforms to the Roman plan. There is a 2nd-cent. triumphal arch here, as well as tombs of the Malatesta dynasty and paintings by Perugino in Sta Maria Nuova. A visit to the 19th century Teatro della Fortuna is subject to confirmation. Arrive in Pesaro and settle into the hotel. Overnight Pesaro. Day 5: Pesaro. Works by Giovanni Bellini and Guido Reni are in the Museo Civico. Visit Rossini’s house, which is now a museum, followed by a private visit to the ‘tempietto Rossiniano’ which houses some of the composer’s original scores and posters. The afternoon is free. Evening opera at the Adriatic Arena: Matilde di Shabran (Rossini) with Michele Mariotti (conductor), Mario Martone (director), Olga Peretyatko (Matilde), Juan Diego Florez (Corradino), Nicola Alaimo (Aliprando). Overnight Pesaro. Day 6: Urbino. The compact hilltop stronghold of Urbino is one of the loveliest in Italy, and enjoys an importance in cultural history out of all proportion to its size. The Palazzo Ducale is the most beautiful of all Renaissance secular buildings and the picture gallery housed here is the finest in The Marches (Piero della Francesca, Raphael, Titian). Evening opera at the Teatro Rossini: Il Signor Bruschino (Rossini) with Daniele Rustioni (conductor), Teatro Sotterraneo (direction), Roberto De Candia (Gaudenzio), Marco Vinco (Bruschino padre), Maria Aleida (Sofia). Overnight Pesaro. Day 7: Pesaro to London. Drive to Bologna airport for the flight to London. Arrive London Heathrow Airport c. 2.45pm.
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Baroque & Rococo In Southern Germany
Trasimeno Music Festival 29 June–7 July 2012 (my 293) 9 days • £2,840 (7 concerts) Lecturer: Dr Alan George; tour manager: Dr Roberto Cobianchi A festival created by pianist Angela Hewitt.
‘Rocaille’ cartouche, engraving c, 1750.
Seven concerts in beautiful settings: a castle near Lake Trasimeno and the Chiesa di S. Domenico in Gubbio. The music is interpersed with excursions to Perugia, Assisi, Cortona and elsewhere. Comfortable hotel in the village of Castel Rigone, overlooking Lake Trasimeno.
‘Top class! Choice of programme most interesting and performances excellent.’ P.T., Victoria, a participant in 2011.
Practicalities Price: £2,640 (deposit £250). This includes: 4 opera tickets costing c. £530, stalls seats in Sferisterio and the Adriatic Arena, category A box seats in the Teatro Rossini; air travel (economy class) with British Airways; accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners with wine, water, coffee; all tips for drivers and waiters; all taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager. Single supplement £290 (double for single use). Price without flights £2,480. Lecturer: Simon Rees. Dramaturg of Welsh National Opera since 1989. After studying English at Cambridge, he taught for two years in Italy and for three at Kyoto University. He has published novels, poetry, translations of works of art history and reviews of books on music and has written libretti for children’s opera and oratorio with Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch. Hotels: in Macerata (3 nights): a 4-star hotel within the historic centre; comfortable, quiet and modern with well equipped but rather small rooms. In Pesaro (3 nights): a modern, well-run 4-star hotel in a central location. How strenuous? Essential to be able to cope with everyday walking and stair-climbing. Average distance by coach per day: 72 miles. Small group: between 12 and 22 participants.
13–21 June 2012 (my 281) 9 days • £2,390 Lecturer: Tom Abbott 16–24 August 2012 (my 335) 9 days • £2,390 Lecturer: Dr Joachim Strupp Ask us for full details or visit www.martinrandall.com Some of the most uplifting and spectacular buildings in the world.
‘For the purposes of ‘baroque and rococo’ in south-west Germany absolutely magnificent and we would do the whole thing again tomorrow!’
‘Particularly complex itinerary and extremely well done. Exquisite, wonderful things.’
J.P., Hampshire. Participant on a previous Baroque & Rococo tour.
Glorious countryside, unspoilt towns and villages. Baroque and Rococo reached a triumphant fulfilment in the churches and palaces of southern Germany, and the styles are manifested in the region in some of the most uplifting and spectacular buildings in the world. It is astonishing that these marvels are not better known, but the artistic heritage of Germany continues to be sadly undervalued. Moreover, many of the choicest items on this tour are not easily accessible, being situated deep in the countryside. Around the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there was something of an economic miracle in the German lands, accompanied by a frenetic upsurge in building activity. This followed nearly a whole century which was blighted by wars and economic
collapse. At the end of it the Catholic Church emerged revitalised, wealthier than ever and triumphant in its defeat of Protestantism. In the temporal sphere, the creed of absolutism, which imposed few constraints on the power of the prince or local lord, was at its height. The Baroque style was the perfect expression both for the Church Triumphant and for the temporal ruler who, taking his cue from Louis XIV at Versailles, wished to overawe his subjects and impress on all visitors the might and magnificence of his person. The Rococo, which arrived in Germany in the 1730s, was delicate and light-hearted by comparison with the imposing magnificence of High Baroque, but produced some of the most exquisite interiors in the history of art.
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Haydn in Eisenstadt 9–15 September 2012 (mz 369) 7 days • £2,370 (including 5 performances) Lecturer: Geoffrey Norris International festival in the small country town where Haydn was based for most of his career. The Academy of Ancient Music, Mischa Maisky and the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra under Adam Fischer appear, among others. Performances include Haydn’s opera ‘L’isola disabitata’ (‘The Deserted Island’). Visits to other places associated with Haydn including the great summer palace in Hungary.
chosen Hadyn’s relationship to Italy as its theme and title. Although the composer never set foot in Italy - he turned down the offer to become Kapellmeister at the court of Naples - Haydn exhibited a strong affinity to Italian culture. The programmes, although dominated by Haydn, include works by a range of Italian composers such as Vivaldi, Tomasini and Donizetti.
excellent art collection at the Kunsthistoriches Museum, or to enjoy the streets, squares and churches in the historic centre. Evening opera with the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, Adam Fischer (conductor), Chen Reiss (soprano), Stephanie Houtzeel (mezzosoprano), Marlin Miller (tenor), Paul Armin Edelmann (bass): Haydn, L’isola disabitata
Day 5: Eisenstadt. Tour of 18th-century organs. Free afternoon. Evening concert with the Kammerorchester Basel, Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin): Haydn, Violin Concerto in G, Symphony No.55 in E flat ‘The Schoolmaster’, pieces by Boccherini and Salieri
Day 1: London to Eisenstadt. Fly at c. 9.15am from London Heathrow to Vienna. Visit Haydn’s birthplace at Rohrau, now a museum. Continue to Eisenstadt. Day 2: Eisenstadt. The historic centre of Eisenstadt has changed little since Haydn’s
Day 6: Eisenstadt, Raiding. Drive to the village of Raiding, birthplace of Franz Liszt. Some free time in Eisenstadt. Evening concert with the Academy of Ancient Music, Bernard Labadie (conductor): Haydn, Symphonies No.24, No.53 and No.89, Concerto A Due Lire in F Day 7: Eisenstadt, Vienna. Fly to Heathrow arriving c. 2.30pm.
Eisenstadt, 17th-century engraving.
Few small country towns have such an important place in the history of music as Eisenstadt; and few festivals other than the Haydntage offer the privilege of hearing music in the hall where it was first performed. Eisenstadt is now in the Burgenland, the small province comprising the plain southeast of Vienna which before 1919 was part of Hungary. Dominating the townscape is a vast mansion, the principal seat of the Esterházy, the richest and most powerful noble family in Habsburg Hungary. Successive princes, but especially Nicholas (1762-90), were lovers of music who maintained a choir, orchestra and Kappellmeister whose duty it was to conduct and compose. For over forty years their Kappellmeister was Joseph Haydn. The wooden floor that Haydn insisted be laid on the marble original to improve the acoustics is still in the Great Hall of Schloss Esterházy; here the orchestral concerts and operas of the festival take place. Further associations with the composer extend into the town of Eisenstadt and the countryside around. Now in its 24th year, the festival has
day. Visit the Haydn Museum in the house he bought after his release from service with the Esterházy family, and see the state apartments of the Baroque and Neo-Classical Schloss Esterházy. Free afternoon. Evening concert with I Musici di Roma, Gábor Boldoczki (trumpet): Haydn, Divertimento in E flat; Torelli, Trumpet Concerto in D; Vivaldi, ‘Autumn’ from ‘The Four Seasons’, Trumpet Concerto in F Op.3 No.3 Day 3: Eszterházá, Eisenstadt. Drive into Hungary and to Eszterházá, the estate housing the magnificent Rococo country house of the Esterházy princes, where Haydn spent many long summers. Visit the recently restored princely apartments and park. Evening concert with the Wiener ConcertVerein, Mischa Maisky (cello), Robert Wolf (flute), Peter Schreiber (oboe): Haydn, Nocturne No.1 A Due Lire in C, Symphony No.30 in C ‘Alleluia’, Cello Concerto in C; Donizetti, Oboe Concertino in F Day 4: Vienna, Eisenstadt. A day in Vienna with the option of a musical history walk with the lecturer. Free time, maybe to visit the
Price: £2,370 (deposit £250). This includes: 5 concert tickets costing c. £390. Air travel (economy class) on Austrian Airlines flights (aircraft: Airbus 321). Coach travel for all journeys outside Eisenstadt. Accommodation as described below. Breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners with wine, water and coffee. Admission to museums, etc. visited with the group. Tips for hotel and restaurant staff. Airport and government taxes. The services of the lecturer and tour manager. Single supplement £120. Price without flights £2,210. Lecturer: Geoffrey Norris. A leading specialist on piano-playing and a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 3. He was for many years the Chief Music Critic of The Daily Telegraph. His publications include Rachmaninoff and contributions to the New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. Hotel: a comfortable modern 4-star hotel with a swimming pool in the heart of the old town of Eisenstadt, only 10 minutes on foot to the Schloss Esterházy. Dinners are here and in restaurants in Eisenstadt. How strenuous? Quite a lot of walking is involved on this tour, some of it around town centres and castles where vehicular access is restricted. Average distance by coach per day: 53 miles. Small group: between 10 and 22 participants.
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Walking on Samos & Chios Landscape & heritage on contrasting Aegean islands 24 Sept.–2 October 2012 (mz 386) 9 days • £2,650 Lecturer: Nigel McGilchrist New for 2012. Two varied islands; one renowned for Hellenic sites, the other for Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Walks give unparalleled access to remoter parts of the islands. Accompanied by the leading guide book author on the islands. For a spell in the sixth century bc the island of Samos was a major force in Aegean power politics, helped by its abundance of fresh water and the ruthless but energetic leadership of its tyrant Polycrates. The island was also at the forefront of mathematics, engineering, poetry and sculpture, losing its supremacy when the Persians conquered Ionian Greece (the mainland, now Turkey, is only a few miles away). The mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras was born here. Samos has important ancient sites, described by Herodotus when he visited in the fifth century bc as ‘three of the greatest building and engineering marvels in the Greek world’: the Temple of Hera, the artificial harbour and its protective mole at Pythagorion, and the Tunnel of Eupalinos, nearly a mile long. The island is also blessed with natural beauty. The patchwork of olive groves and citrus orchards on the fertile plains of the Kámbos Chóras to the south give way to forests of cypress and pine in the hills. An abundance of springs mean the island stays lush and green despite the dry climate, and a huge variety of Mediterranean wild flowers flourish; over 60 species of wild orchid have been documented here. Remote mountain villages offer the perfect start- and end- points for very varied walks, tracing mule tracks and stream beds; and exhilarating coastal paths offer wide open vistas of turquoise waters crashing against the cliffs below. Chios lies 55 nautical miles from Samos. The surviving architecture offers a different perspective on the history of the eastern Aegean islands, with Byzantine and Ottoman predominating. The most impressive building is the 11th-century Nea Moni monastery. One of the richest in Greece, it attracted firstrate artists, and the mosaics are some of the country’s most significant. The island’s fame and fortune were due to a unique type of mastic tree which produces a resin prized throughout history
for its medicinal properties. The mastic villages were largely spared the atrocities perpetrated by the Turks in 1822 in the Greek War of Independence because of the value of ‘Chios tears’. Mastic is experiencing a resurgence today and is cultivated for the cosmetics, confectionery and food. The fertile plains also provided Chios with a thriving citrus fruit industry. The Genoese imported trees during their occupation of the island in the 14th and 15th centuries, and trade flourished due to the sweetness of Chios’s oranges and mandarins. Chios town was subsequently one of the most elegant in the Aegean until the great 1881 earthquake, which destroyed many fine Genoese palazzi. Today’s modern architecture in this bustling town is less aesthetically pleasing, but shades of former elegance are evident. A note on the walks: to a large degree, walking paths and trails on these Aegean Islands are maintained by voluntary groups of local walkers who pride themselves on the landscapes available to them, but they receive little or no state support. The paths are chosen for diversity of flora and fauna, views and for their cultural or historical importance. But these paths are sometimes unkempt, rugged and prone to damage by weather and storms. They are also largely single track paths, resulting in Indian file walking for much of the time; the exceptions being on the broad, Ottoman paths that we have also included.
Itinerary Day 1: London to Athens. Fly at c. 8.15am from London Heathrow to Athens. Arrive in time for a late lunch in Athens’ fashionable Plaka district, before a walk following the Panathenaic processional route through the Acropolis, beginning at the Keramikos and ending at the Erechteion. Return to the airport for the overnight stay. Day 2: Athens to Chios. An early morning flight (c. 6.00am) from Athens to Chios allows for morning walk around the town and visits to the Archaeological Museum, home to an excellent display of Chiot amphorae and the rare Hellenistic grave stelae. The Byzantine Museum contains some of the finest paintings on the island. First of four nights on Chios. Day 3: Mastic villages, Mestá, Pyrgí. Strategically placed inland and
Walking Hadrian’s Wall 20–26 May 2012 (my 253) 7 days • £1,790 Lecturer: Professor David Breeze 9–15 September 2012 (mz 351) 7 days • £1,790 Lecturer: Professor Richard Hingley The archaeology and history of the largest Roman construction in northern Europe. The most spectacular stretches accessible only on foot, this is also a walking tour through some of the most magnificent scenery in England. Excursions from coast to coast include all the major Roman sites and relevant museums. One hotel throughout, the best in the region. Ask us for full details or visit our website www.martinrandall.com
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Walking on Samos & Chios continued
hidden from view from seaborne threats, the mastic villages are the only place in the Mediterranean where the tree’s resin is successfully cultivated and cropped. Walk 5 km through mastic and olive groves towards Mestá, a charming, fortified Mediaeval village, with two churches dedicated to the Taxiarches (Archangels), one of Byzantine origin. Pyrgí’s grey and white sgraffito on houses is distinctly reminiscent of its links with Genoa. A town walk includes one of Chios’ most important churches, Ághii Apostoli. Day 4: Nea Moni, Avgónyma, Anávatos. Approach the monastery from the north on foot (5km), following in the footsteps of many pilgrims before us, giving an enthralling perspective on its location. It was founded to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary,
and David Asherman (both open by special appointment). Day 6: From Chios to Samos. Fly to Athens at c. 7.00am to catch the late-morning flight to Samos. Time to settle into the hotel; the rest of the afternoon is free before a walk in Vathý town. Day 7: Vathý, Potami Bay to Megaloseitani. A morning excursion to Vathý’s exceptional Archaeological Museum is an ideal introduction to the island’s rich collection of Archaic sculpture; the centrepiece is the enormous Samos Kouros. A late afternoon walk (9km) on the north of the island is along a rugged coastal path giving excellent views of the Turkish coast. Day 8: Pythagóreio: Tunnel of Eupalinos, Temple of Hera, Vourliates. A full day
Practicalities Price: £2,650 (deposit £250). This includes: air travel (economy class) on scheduled British Airways flights (Boeing 676) and scheduled Olympic Air flights between Athens, Chios and Samos (DHC-8); travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 4 lunches (including one picnic) and 5 dinners with wine, water and coffee; all admissions; all tips; all taxes; the services of the lecturer, tour manager and local guides. Single supplement £90 (double for sole use). Price without the international flights £2,490. Lecturer: Nigel McGilchrist. Writer and lecturer now living in Orvieto producing olive oil and wine. Worked for the Italian Ministry of Arts in the field of wall-painting conservation and has taught at Rome University, the University of Massachusetts and was Dean of European Studies for a consortium of American Universities. For six years he walked every path and village of the sixty inhabited Greek islands, which culminated in the twenty volume McGilchrist’s Greek Islands, abbreviated to the Blue Guide to The Aegean Islands. Hotels. In Athens (1 night): the Sofitel at Athens airport, comfortable and convenient for an overnight stay. In Chios (4 nights): a well-located, comfortable hotel in Chios town overlooking the harbour; what it lacks in character it makes up for in location. In Samos (3 nights): a newly refurbished resortstyle hotel near Pythagorio. The public areas offer sweeping views across to the Turkish coast, but rooms are rather small.
Samos, engraving c. 1840.
and the fine mosaics mean it is one of the most important Byzantine sites in the Greek world. Avgónyma and Anávatos, two spectacularly situated hill-top villages, were devastated by the massacres of 1822. The now deserted houses in Anavatos are falling into disrepair but are humbling and evocative links to the past. Day 5: Fa to Lithi Port, Tholopotami. A wonderful Ottoman road (5km) leads downhill to the sea at Lithi. After lunch at a harbour taverna, the afternoon’s walk (6km) visits two unique and distinctive churches. The recently-restored Panaghia Krina, close in date to Nea Moni with original 12th-century wall paintings, is within walking distance of one of Chios’ unexpected delights, a chapel painted in the 1960s by muralists Juliette May Fraser
of archeological exploration, first at the kilometre-long aqueduct, built perhaps with the assistance of Pythagoras. The newlyrenovated Archaeological Museum houses important finds from the Heraion. The site of the temple itself, dedicated to the goddess Hera, was one of the largest in the ancient world: a single column survives. An afternoon walk (4km) through the Valley of the Nightingales, in some of the loveliest countryside on Samos, passes through two unspoilt mountain villages. Day 9: Samos to London. Fly at c.7.00am from Samos to Athens. Return to London Heathrow by 4.00pm.
How strenuous? This tour is only suitable for those used to regular country walking with uphill content. Strong knees and a pair of well-worn walking boots with ankle support is essential, and walking poles are recommended if you are accustomed to using them. There are 6 walks of between 4 and 9 kms, which include uphill climbs. Some paths are rugged and on uneven terrain, so a good sense of balance is essential. There are two early morning flights during the tour. Average distance by coach per day: 20 miles. Small group: between 10 and 18 participants.
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Connoisseur’s Prague Art, architecture & design, with privileged access 25 Sept.–1 October 2012 (mz 380) 7 days • £2,480 Lecturer: Michael Ivory New for 2012. Includes inaccessible and hidden glories as well as the main sights of this endlessly fascinating and beautiful city. Special arrangements and private visits are major features. Museums and galleries have been transformed in recent years, and new ones added. Particular focus on art and architecture around the turn of the 19th century. Mucha’s ‘Slav Epic’ will be on display in Prague for the first time for 70 years. Can be combined with Bohemia, 17–24 September 2012. This is an experience of Prague like no other. The capital of Bohemia needs no introduction as the most beautiful city in Central Europe, with plenty to delight the cultural traveller for a week or more. Yet many a façade screens halls and rooms and works of art of the highest interest which can scarcely ever be seen except by insiders. Other fine places are open to visitors but hard to get to. Gaining access to the inaccessible is a major strand of this tour. Pursuing the private and straying off the beaten track will not be at the expense of the well-known sights, among which are some of the most fascinating buildings and artworks. But here participants are enabled to focus on the essentials and as far as possible to visit when crowds have subsided. Prague enjoys an unequalled density of great architecture, from Romanesque to modern, but it is the fabric of the city as a whole rather than individual masterpieces which make it so special. The city has the advantage of a splendid site, a crescent of hills rising from one side of a majestic bend in the River Vltava with gently inclined terrain on the other bank. A carapace of red roofs, green domes and gilded spires spreads across the slopes and levels, sheltering marvellously unspoilt streets and alleys and magically picturesque squares. Though the whole gamut of Czech art and architecture is viewed, the tour has an emphasis on the period from the 1870s to the 1920s. The spirit of national revival and the achievement of independence (in 1918) inspired a ferment of creativity among artists, writers and composers. A bewildering variety of styles drew on earlier Bohemian traditions, led Art Nouveau into highly innovatory
Etching 1924 by J.C Vondrous.
directions and pioneered some radical and unique features at the dawn of modernism. Another high point in Prague’s history was the fourteenth century, when Kings of Bohemia were also Holy Roman Emperors and the city became one of the largest in the western world. The Gothic cathedral rising from within the precincts of the hilltop Royal Castle is one of the many monuments of that golden age, and the exquisite panel paintings from this era, now excellently displayed in the Convent of St Agnes, are among the chief glories of the city. Subordination within the Habsburg Empire from the sixteenth century curtailed Bohemia’s power but not its wealth or architectural achievements: some of the finest Renaissance buildings in Central Europe arose here. In the eighteenth century, some of the richest landowners of the Baroque age
built palaces here. In the city where Mozart had his most enthusiastic audiences and where Smetana and Dvořák reached fulfilment, there is still a rich musical life in a range of beautiful historic opera houses and concert halls. There will be the opportunity to attend performances. The itinerary given below does not list by any means all that you see. Nor does it indicate all the slots for free time, which is necessarily a feature of a tour of such richness and variety.
Itinerary Day 1. Fly from London to Prague at c. 10.30am. After settling into the hotel, there is a first exploration of the ancient core of the city on the right bank of the Vltava. A dense maze of dazzlingly picturesque streets and
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Connoisseur’s Prague continued
alleys converges on Old Town Square, surely the prettiest urban space in Europe, with shimmeringly beautiful façades – mediaeval, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau. Then a special visit to the Obecni dům (‘Municipal House’) to see the glorious suite of assembly rooms created 1904–12, a unique and very Czech mélange of murals and ornament. Day 2. Two very different buildings continue the tour of the Old Town: the Gothic Tyn church, at the heart not only of Prague but also of Czech history, and, by very special arrangement, the superb Art Deco reception rooms of the Mayor’s Residence. There follows the 13th-century Convent of St Agnes, where one of the world’s greatest collections of mediaeval painting is brilliantly installed. A walk in and around Wenceslas Square, threading through a succession of arcades, takes in some outstanding turn-of-thecentury architecture and decoration and early modernist masterpieces. Day 3. Drive up to Prague Castle for a first visit to this extensive and fascinating hilltop citadel, residence of Dukes and Kings of Bohemia from the 10th century and now of the President. The Old Royal Palace rises from Romanesque through Gothic to Renaissance, the chief glory being the largest stone hall in Europe and its extraordinary vaulting. There follows privileged access to a wonderful sequence of halls not open to the public, dating from the 1570s to the 1930s (state occasions permitting). Walk through a sequence of delightful gardens on the south slope down to the Lesser Town. Day 4. Begin with the Moorish style Jubilee Synagogue of 1908 and the rare Rondo-Cubist Legion’s Bank of the 1920s. The Veletržni (Trade Fair) Palace of 1928 now houses fascinating Czech art of the 19th and 20th cents., a remarkable holding of modern French art and, from 2012, Alphons Mucha’s 20 vast canvases of his ‘Slav Epic’, which ranks as the concluding episode in the 400-year European tradition of history painting. Return to the Castle District to see the delicately arcaded Belvedere in the Royal Gardens, the finest Renaissance building in Prague, and the cathedral of St Vitus, a pioneering monument of High Gothic, richly embellished with chapels, tombs, altarpieces and stained glass. Day 5. The Klementinum is a vast Jesuit complex with library halls and chapels. See also in the Old Town the church of St James, a Gothic carcass encrusted with Baroque finery after a fire in 1689. Walk across 14th-century Charles Bridge, the greatest such structure in Europe, wonderfully adorned with sculptures. In the Lesser Town visit the infrequently opened Wallenstein Palace, a rare example
of a 1630s residence (now the Senate), and St Nicholas, one of the greatest of Baroque churches in Central Europe. Free afternoon. Day 6. Sunday morning traffic enables efficient mopping up by coach of treasures south of the centre, among them St John Nepomuk ‘on the Rock’, a little Baroque masterpiece (rarely accessible), the bizarre phenomenon of Cubist houses and the fortress of Vysehrad, rising high above the river and enclosing a cemetery with the graves of many great Czechs. There is a special tour of the National Theatre (1869–83) to which all the leading Czech artists of the time contributed, and a quick visit to the Prague Museum to see the extraordinarily detailed model of the city made in the 1830s. A riverside country retreat, Villa Troja is a 17th-cent. Italianate mansion with a French formal garden. Day 7. Strahov Monastery has commanding views over Prague and two magnificent library halls, which by special arrangement we enter. Then walk down the hill, passing the formidable bulk of the Černín Palace and the delightful façade of the Loreto Church, for some free time at the Castle. There is an excellent museum of Czech 19th-cent. art, the Lobkowicz Palace with Canaletto’s paintings of London and the recently installed Treasury of St Vitus. The flight returns to London Heathrow at c. 5.00pm.
Practicalities Price: £2,480 (£250 deposit). This includes: air travel (economy class) on scheduled British Airways flights (aircraft: Airbus Industrie 320); private coach for airport transfers and some excursions; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts and four dinners with wine, water and coffee; all admissions to museums, etc.; all tips for restaurant staff, drivers, guides; all state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer and Czech guideinterpreter. Single supplement £270 (double room for sole occupancy). Price without flights £2,320. Lecturer: Michael Ivory. Landscape architect, writer, translator and lecturer. He studied Modern Languages at Oxford followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Landscape Design. He is a former lecturer at the University of Central England and committee member of the British Czech & Slovak Association. His publications include the Insight pocket guide: Czech Republic, Key Guide Prague and Berlitz Czech Republic. Hotel. Very well located in the Old Town close to Obecní dům, this characterful hotel built in 1904 retains most of its original Art Nouveau decor. Recently refurbished and
upgraded, it is given a 5-star rating though elsewhere in Europe it is unlikely it would be rated more than 4-star. Good restaurant, café, small fitness centre. How strenuous? There is quite a lot of walking, much of it on roughly paved streets, some on inclines. The tour would not be suitable for anyone with difficulties with everyday walking and stair-climbing. Music. It is also usually possible to obtain tickets for operas and concerts. Programme details will be sent to participants when programmes are published. Small group: this tour will operate with between 10 and 18 participants.
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Bohemia 17–24 September 2012 (mz 378) 8 days • £2,630 Lecturer: Michael Ivory A selection of the finest places with the most densely packed heritage in Central Europe, passing through enchanting, rolling countryside. Beautiful historic town centres, architecture from Gothic to Art Nouveau, distinctive Bohemian schools of painting and sculpture. Can be combined with ‘Connoisseur’s Prague’.
Music in Brno & Prague 9–14 May 2012 (my 238) 6 days • £2,180 (with tickets to 4 performances) Lecturer: Professor Jan Smaczny In Brno: Rusalka (Dvořák) and Madama Butterfly (Puccini). In Prague: Katya Kabanova ( Janáček) at the National Theatre and Má vlast (Smetana) at the Obecní dům. Led by a musicologist with walks, talks and free time between performances.
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Opera in Cardiff Jephtha, La Bohème, Così fan tutte 4–7 October 2012 (mz 406) 4 days • £960 (including 3 performances) Lecturer: Simon Rees Jephtha (Handel), La Bohème (Puccini) and Così fan tutte (Mozart) with Diana Montague, Robert Murray, Elizabeth Watts, Neal Davies and Giselle Allen. Excursions and talks with Simon Rees, dramaturg of Welsh National Opera. 5-star hotel in the Cardiff Bay development. Since moving into its new home in 2004 Welsh National Opera has gone from strength to strength, with a critically acclaimed chorus and orchestra. After a painful decade of architectural controversy during which the first scheme was ditched, the WNO now have a fitting base in Cardiff. The new architects, Percy Thomas, were instructed to build something ‘unmistakeably Welsh and internationally outstanding.’ The result: The Wales Millennium Centre, a massive structure of slate, glass and steel, built to withstand the lashings of the elements on its coastal location and embodying the natural resources and industries of Wales. It has the largest orchestra pit in the United Kingdom, and while the auditorium seats 1,850, it is acoustically excellent. The Millennium Centre is one of many projects in Cardiff Bay, a development that has transformed the old docks of the city into a waterfront stretch of exciting design. Our fivestar, ultramodern and light-filled hotel is a key element in the Bay and has variously been referred to by journalists as thrilling, sexy, soothing and solicitous. The centre of the city is an admirable Edwardian exercise in town planning, imperious and compact.
‘Outstanding! We had performances of world-class calibre – unforgettable and thrilling artistry.’
S.S. & A.S., East Sussex, participants on a previous Opera in Cardiff tour.
Itinerary Day 1. Assemble at the hotel at c. 3.30pm for an introductory lecture. Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre: Jephtha (Handel), Paul Goodwin (conductor), Robert Murray, Alan Ewing, Diana Montague, Fflur Wyn, Robin
Blaze, Claire Ormshaw. The oratorio has been fully dramatised. Day 2. Walk through the newly developed Cardiff Bay, a mix of late 19th-century red brick and challenging constructions of glass and steel including the Millennium Centre. The Cardiff Bay Barrage, a masterly piece of engineering across the Ely and Taff estuaries. Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre: La Bohème (Puccini), Simon Phillippo (conductor), Giselle Allen, Alex Vicens, David Kempster, Kate Valentine, Gary Griffiths, Piotr Lempa. Day 3. After the morning lecture, a guided tour of the Wales Millennium Centre. Visit the National Museum of Wales which has one of the finest collections of Impressionist paintings in the UK. Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre: Così fan tutte (Mozart), Mark Wigglesworth (conductor), Elizabeth Watts, Cora Burggraaf, Andrew Tortise, Jacques Imbrailo, Neal Davies, Joanne Boag. Day 4. Disperse after breakfast.
Practicalities Price: £960 (deposit £100). This includes: 3 good opera tickets; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts and 3 pretheatre dinners with wine, water and coffee; all admissions; all tips for restaurant staff and drivers; the services of the lecturer. Single supplement £180 (double room for single occupancy). Lecturer: Simon Rees. Dramaturg of Welsh National Opera since 1989, editing programmes, researching productions and translating libretti. After studying English at Cambridge Simon taught for two years in Italy and for three at Kyoto University. He has published novels, poetry, translations of works of art history and reviews of books on music and has written libretti for children’s opera and oratorio with Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch. Hotel: a 5-star hotel in the new development at Cardiff Bay. Rooms are well-designed, comfortable and richly furnished. All have balconies with views. Facilities include a swimming pool and spa. Despite the high star rating, the service is sometimes slow and impersonal, and the food does not always meet the 5-star standard of the rest of the hotel. How strenuous? Not very, but all visits are on foot, including walking to the opera house from the hotel, a leisurely 15 minutes away. Small group: between 10 and 22 participants.
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Country House Opera 26–29 June 2012 (my 279) 4 days • £1,640 (including 3 opera tickets) Lecturer: Daniel Snowman Three operas at three of England’s highest quality country-house opera festivals – Longborough, Grange Park and Garsington at its new home at Wormsley. La Périchole (Offenbach), Katya Kabanova ( Janáček), and Idomeneo (Mozart). Staying at the finest hotel in Oxford and a country house hotel outside Winchester.
Torre del Lago 16–20 August 2012 (my 337) 5 days • £1,990 (including 3 opera tickets) Lecturer: Daniel Snowman Included in the Puccini Festival 2012: Madame Butterfly and La Bohème, and also Verdi’s La Traviata. The operas are performed on three successive evenings in the new open-air theatre near Puccini’s home. Based in Lucca with visits to a selection of art and architecture and to places associated with Puccini, including the newly reopened museum in the house of his birth. Also in 2012:
Opera in Dresden & Leipzig, 29 April–5 May The Ring in Budapest, 11–18 June Opera in Paris, 21–25 June Verona Opera, 5–9 July, 2–6 August, 23–27 August Opera at Aix, 8–12 July Salzburg Summer Festival, 11–17 August
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Naples: art, antiquities & opera With a performance at the Teatro San Carlo 22–27 October 2012 (mz 417) 6 days • £1,890 Lecturer: Dr Helen Langdon Selects the best of the art, architecture and antiquities in Naples. Performance of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles at the recently restored Teatro San Carlo. Also visits the palaces and gardens at Caserta. Naples is one of those rare places whose very name kindles a kaleidoscope of conflicting images. A highlight of the eighteenthcentury Grand Tour, it is now all but ignored by mainstream tourism. Royal capital of the largest of the Italian kingdoms, in the twentieth century it became a byword for poverty and decline. Once it basked in a reputation for supreme beauty – ‘see Naples and die’; now it enjoys notoriety as a pit of urban ills – chaos, congestion, corruption and Camorra. Until recently there was some truth in all of these images of modern Naples. But the city has changed – not entirely, but it is one of the most heartening examples of inner-city regeneration of the last decade or so. Traffic is still appalling, but much of the historic centre is now pedestrianised. A burst of prosperity has transformed the ancient shopping and artisan districts. Restoration of buildings and works of art has further increased the beauty of the city, and more churches and museums are more often open and accessible. Its museums display some of the finest art and antiquities to be found in Italy, and major architectural and archaeological sites are located nearby. The Teatro San Carlo is one of the most important in operatic history, with many premières to its credit. One of the oldest and largest in Europe, it was built in 1737, restored after a fire in 1818, and has just emerged in all its glory from major refurbishment. Naples is a city of the south. In many ways it has more in common with Seville or Cairo than with Florence or Milan. It is a city of swaggering palaces and stupendous churches, of cacophonous street life and infectious vitality. Exciting, exhausting, energising.
Itinerary Day 1. Fly at c. 1pm from London Gatwick to Naples. Visit the Royal Palace in the afternoon, a majestic pile in the heart of the city overlooking the harbour which was begun at the beginning of the 17th century and extended and refurbished in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Naples, 18th-century view from the harbour. Day 2. A first walk through the teeming old city centre includes the cathedral of San Gennaro which has an interior of astounding richness and major paintings by Domenichino and Lanfranco. Also seen are two works by Caravaggio, his Martyrdom of St Ursula in a bank and his Seven Works of Mercy in the chapel for which it was commissioned. In the afternoon drive into the hilly suburbs to visit the palace of Capodimonte, originally a giant hunting lodge. Here is located one of Italy’s greatest art galleries, with a magnificent range of art from the Middle Ages onwards. Day 3. Among the treasures seen on the second walk in the centre of Naples are the Cappella San Severo, a masterpiece of Baroque art and craft with multi-coloured marbles and virtuoso sculptures, and Santa Chiara, an austere Gothic church with a delightful Rococo tile-encrusted cloister. The afternoon is spent at the National Museum, one of the world’s greatest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. Many items come from the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Day 4. High on a hill which provides stunning views over the city and the Bay of Naples, the monastery of San Martino has a church of extraordinary lavishness of art and decoration and a museum of fine and decorative arts. The afternoon is free before the evening performance at the Teatro San Carlo, the oldest major working theatre in Europe and renowned for its acoustic despite its 3000-seat capacity. Recent restoration has returned it to its former splendour. Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Bizet), Gabriele Ferro (conductor), Fabio Sparvoli (director).
Day 5. Situated a few miles outside Naples, the royal palace at Caserta, begun 1751, is Italy’s most magnificent and accomplished emulation of Versailles. An awesome absolutist statement, the apartments are superbly decorated and furnished and it is set within parkland and gardens equally magnificent in scale. In Caserta there is also a visit to the 18th-century gardens at the Casale dei Duchi di Bovino, a cross between the formal Italian and the landscaped English style. Lunch is at a private villa. Day 6. The morning is free in Naples. The flight arrives at Gatwick at c. 2.15pm.
Practicalities Price: £1,890 (deposit £200). This includes: air travel (economy class) on scheduled British Airways flights (aircraft: Boeing 737); travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, one lunch and three dinners with wine, water and coffee; all admissions to museums, galleries etc. visited with the group; one opera ticket; all tips for restaurant staff and drivers; all taxes; the services of the lecturer. Single supplement £290 (double room for single occupancy). Price without flights £1,710. Lecturer: Dr Helen Langdon. Studied at Cambridge, and received a doctorate from the Courtauld. She has contributed to many academic journals, and is the author of several books, including The Gallery Goers Guide, Claude Lorrain, Holbein, and Caravaggio: a Life. In 2003, she was Assistant Director at the British School in Rome and is now a Research Fellow there. Has also been a Research Scholar at the Getty Institute, LA.
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Valencia art & architecture, Mediaeval to modern Hotel. A 4-star on the waterfront about ten minutes on foot from the Royal Palace. Dating from the turn of the 19th century, the style is vaguely Classical tempered with Art Nouveau. Rooms are elegantly decorated but do vary in size; sea-view rooms are available on request and for a supplement of £140 per room. A comfortable hotel with friendly service. How strenuous? A large swathe of central Naples is inaccessible to traffic, certainly to coaches. Pavements are often uneven, some roads are steep, traffic can be unpredictable. Participants need to be averagely fit and able to manage everyday walking and stairclimbing without any difficulty. The average distance by coach per day is 10 miles. Small group: this tour will operate with between 10 and 22 participants.
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Basilicata 12–17 May 2012 (my 240) 6 days • £1,720 Lecturer: John McNeill A region rich in archaeological collections and Norman and Romanesque architecture. Unknown and unspoilt – a chance to explore the countryside and small towns of southern Italy with few other tourists. Based throughout in the lively town of Matera, staying in a cave hotel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palladian Villas 29 May–3 June 2012 (my 261) 6 days • £1,690 Lecturer: Dr Michael Douglas-Scott 25–30 September 2012 (mz 390) 6 days • £1,690 Lecturer: Dr Fabrizio Nevola 9–14 October 2012 (mz 392) 6 days • £1,690 Lecturer: Dr Joachim Strupp
6–10 November 2012 (mz 426) 5 days • £1,370 Lecturer: Adam Hopkins
‘Excellent – full of interest from ancient to ultra-modern.’
A handsome, vibrant city on the Mediterranean seaboard, excellent for its variety of art and architecture, good food and wine.
palace, reflects continuous production of topclass ceramics from the 13th century onwards – Moorish in technique and design, its best elements perpetuated in what came after. The Moors made mediaeval Valencia. Christians from Aragón reconquered it in 1238. The new masters built on Arab civilisation to achieve Mediterranean prominence and their own Gothic splendours. In an exuberant 19th-century city-centre, Artnouveau and art-deco flourished, as Santiago Calatrava does today in the Turia riverbed.
Gothic highlights include the Silk Exchange and Royal Chapel at Santo Domingo. Possibility of attending an opera or concert at Calatrava’s striking Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. One of Spain’s greatest fine arts museums, and its first modern art gallery, Impressionist collections and Arabic ceramics. Valencia, Spain’s third city, is elegant and open-spirited, filled with Mediterranean light – though you only glimpse the sea when you go down to the beach to sample a paella, Valencia’s great contribution to gastronomic pleasure. From Arab times until today, Valencia has meant and still means rice – and oranges. Valencia’s architecture reflects the city’s exuberant success in Gothic days and the newly-thrusting, ultra-modern regionalism has brought the America’s Cup here twice in the past six years. Santiago Calatrava’s vast, fantastical and gleaming showpiece, the City of Arts and Sciences, set in a dried-out river bed as the culmination of 14 kilometres of park, is undoubtedly its supreme expression. Calatrava, Valencian-born engineerarchitect supreme, has always had his critics: today voices are raised about operating cost and maintenance and the general sense of grandeur. But few could deny the beauty of the cascading glass, the gleaming steel and dazzling concrete, the acrobatic forms of his assemblage of outsize buildings – opera house, science museum, sports stadium, arboretumwalkway along with an oceanarium by the older but also interesting architect Felix Candela. The complex and indeed the whole city should not be missed by anyone who wants an overview of modern Spain. Evidence of the vigour of the city’s culture over the centuries is everywhere. The Fine Arts Museum is one of the most important in Spain, excellent in particular for Gothic and Renaissance painting – Valencia was Spain’s first port of call for many Renaissance ideas. The city’s luminous 19th-century painting, increasingly appreciated today, is also much in evidence. The IVAM was Spain’s first major gallery of modern art with an impressive permanent collection and important temporary exhibitions. The presence of the National Ceramics Museum, in a lush rococo
L.F., Kent, a participant on our 2011 tour.
Itinerary Day 1. Fly at c. 10.00am from London Heathrow to Madrid and connect on a flight to Valencia. Arrive in time for an introductory talk. Day 2. The cathedral, a curious mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque, has a splendid chapter house and paintings by Goya. Great examples of secular 15th-century Gothic include the Silk Exchange with its magnificent hall of pillars and the Generalitat with a sequence of richly decorated rooms (subject to confirmation).Housed in its exuberantly Churrigueresque palace, the collections of the National Ceramics Museum range from Moorish lustre ware to Picasso. Day 3. The complex of the Colegio del Patriarca has a Renaissance courtyard and a museum with Flemish and Spanish paintings. The church of Corpus Cristi has 16th-century frescoes and a Last Supper by Ribalta. Santo Domingo, a Gothic friary, has a Royal Chapel with ribless vault and an outstanding 14th-cent. chapter house (visit by special arrangement). Cross the 16th-century Royal Bridge to the Fine Arts Museum, one of the best in Spain, with works by Valencian, Spanish and Flemish masters. Day 4. Drive via the Quart Towers, a massive 14th-century city gateway, to IVAM (Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno): a collection of international painting, sculpture and photography with good temporary exhibitions. The home and studio of the Benlliure family of Impressionist painters has a large art collection and a romantic garden. Drive to the seafront for a paella lunch overlooking the Mediterranean. Take an optional excursion to Manises, centre of ceramic production since Arab times, with an excellently presented ceramics museum. Day 5. Spanning the dry bed of the diverted
14 Valencia continued
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Sicily Centre of Mediterranean Civilizations
River Turia is a Calatrava trademark, the ‘Peineta’ bridge, and, below it, a metro station he designed. Further along is his Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias consisting inter alia of an arboretum, a soaring edifice that houses the science museum and the nearby opera house (exteriors only). Catch the early afternoon flight to Madrid, and then a connection to London Heathrow, arriving at c. 5.45pm.
24 Sept.–6 Oct. 2012 (mz 377) This tour is currently full.
The whole gamut – Ancient Greek, Roman, mediaeval (particularly Norman), Renaissance, Baroque and later.
Price: £1,370 (deposit £150) This includes: air travel (economy class) on scheduled British Airways and Iberia Airlines flights (Airbus A320); private coach throughout; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners, with wine, water, coffee; all admissions; all tips for restaurant staff, guides, drivers; all taxes; the services of the lecturer, tour manager and local guide. Single supplement £130 (double room for sole occupancy). Price without flights £1,160. Lecturer: Adam Hopkins. Journalist and author, now living in a mountain village in Spain. He studied at King’s College, Cambridge and has contributed extensively to national newspapers in Britain on Spanish culture and travel. His books include Spanish Journeys: a Portrait of Spain, Holland: its History, Paintings and People and Crete: its Past, Present and People. Together with his wife, Gaby Macphedran, he has devised many tours in Spain and Portugal. Hotel. A 4-star hotel installed in an 18thcentury palace in a very central location next to the National Ceramics Museum. Rooms are small but well-equipped and tastefully decorated. How strenuous? Coach access is restricted in the historic centre and there is a lot of walking and standing around in museums.Average distance by coach per day: 9 miles. Optional music: we hope to be able to offer tickets to an opera or concert at the Palau de les Arts. Programmes are released in summer 2012. Small group: between 8 and 22 participants.
14–26 November 2012 (mz 437) 13 days • £3,860 Lecturer: Dr Ffiona Gilmore Eaves Covers the whole island, including the main sights and many lesser-known ones.
A full tour but carefully paced. Hotel changes kept to a minimum – only three hotels in thirteen days. By virtue of both size and location, Sicily is the pre-eminent island in the Mediterranean. It is the largest, and it is also close to the sea’s centre, a stepping stone between Europe and Africa and a refuge between the Levant and the Atlantic. The result is that throughout history Sicily has been viewed as a fortuitous landfall by migrating peoples and a prized possession by ambitious adventurers and expansionist princes. And as the Mediterranean has been catalyst and disseminator of a greater variety of civilizations than any other of the world’s seas, the island has acquired an exceptionally rich encrustation of art and architecture and archaeological remains. For the Phoenicians, Sicily was a nodal point in their far-reaching trading empire, but from the seventh century bc they were increasingly displaced by colonies established by the Greeks. Exploiting the enormous potential of the island, these rapidly outpaced their rugged home territories to become the most prosperous of all Hellenic colonies. At Segesta and Agrigento there survive some of the finest standing Doric temples to be seen anywhere. Great wealth accrued under Roman rule when the island was clothed in fields of corn, and endless oak forests and abundant fauna provided sport for grandees and emperors. One of them has bequeathed to us on the floor of his luxurious villa the most splendid Roman mosaics to have survived. Overrun by Germanic barbarians in the fifth century, Sicily was wrested back for the twilight of classical civilization by the Byzantines, but at the cost of military campaigns which devastated the island. Byzantine rule was in turn supplanted from the ninth century by Muslim Arabs, and a period of prosperity and advanced civilization ensued. Two hundred years later Arab rule was swept aside by conquering Normans, who by succumbing to the luxuriant sophistication
of their predecessors distanced themselves as far as is imaginable from their rugged northern roots. The unique artistic blend of this golden age survives in the Romanesque churches with details of Norman, Saracenic, Levantine and classical origin. Byzantine mosaicists were much employed. The wealth and power of Sicily began to wane again from the later Middle Ages as a succession of German, French and Spanish dynasties exploited the island with colonial disregard for long-term interests, but pockets of wealth and creativity remained as Gothic and Renaissance masterpieces demonstrate. Artistically, however, a final flourish was reached in the Age of Baroque which saw the erection of churches and palaces as splendid and exuberant as anywhere in Europe. The raw beauty of the landscape changes continually across the island. The Sicilians can be as welcoming as Italians anywhere, but the island continues to retain its enigmas, and differences with the mainland sometimes seem profound.
Itinerary Day 1: Palermo. Fly at c. 12.20pm from London Heathrow, via Rome, to Palermo, the largest and by far the most interesting city on the island; capital of Sicily from the period of Saracenic occupation in the 9th century, it reached a peak under the Normans and again during the Age of Baroque. First of six nights in Palermo. Day 2: Palermo. Morning walk through the old centre includes a visit to several oratories and outstanding Norman buildings include the Martorana and San Cataldo with fine mosaics. Drinks at a private palace, usually closed to the public. In the afternoon see the excellent collection of pictures in the 15th-century Palazzo Abatellis. Overnight Palermo. Day 3: Monreale, Cefalù. Monreale dominates a verdant valley west of Palermo, and its cathedral is one of the finest Norman churches with the largest scheme of mosaic decoration to survive from the Middle Ages. Cefalù, a charming coastal town, has a massive Norman cathedral with outstanding mosaics and an art gallery with painting by Antonello da Messina. Overnight Palermo. Day 4: Segesta, Selinunte. With its magnificently sited temple and theatre, Segesta is one of the most evocative of Greek sites. Selinunte, founded c. 650 bc is a vast archaeological site, renowned for its wellpreserved temples on the eastern hill and the acropolis. Return to Palermo. Day 5: Agrigento. A full day in Agrigento
Telephone 020 8742 3355
‘Every aspect of the tour delighted me and I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone.’ J.F., Bristol, a participant on Sicily in 2011.
Walking in Sicily 23–30 April 2012 & 15–22 October 2012 8 days • £2,220 Lecturers: Dr Ffiona Gilmore Eaves; Christopher Newall Ask us for full details or visit our website at martinrandall.com
Taormina, wood engraving 1891.
to see the ‘Valley of the Temples’, one of the finest of all ancient Greek sites, with two virtually complete Doric temples, other ruins and a good museum. Overnight Palermo. Day 6: Palermo. Visit the 12th-century Palace of the Normans, containing the Palatine Chapel and Hall of King Roger, both with outstanding mosaics. S. Giovanni degli Eremiti is a Norman church with five cupolas and a charming garden. The cathedral, a building of many periods, has grand royal and imperial tombs. Free afternoon. Overnight Palermo. Day 7: Palermo, Piazza Armerina. In Palermo visit the Zisa, an Arab-Norman Palace. Drive through the interior of Sicily. At Piazza Armerina are the remains of one of the most sumptuous villas of the late-Roman Empire, whose floor mosaics comprise the most vital and colourful manifestation of Roman figurative art in Europe. Continue across the island for the first of four nights in Taormina. Day 8: Taormina. Visit the famed Roman theatre, with spectacular views over the sea to Calabria and inland to Mount Etna, an active volcano. The rest of the day free: one of the earliest and still one of the most attractive of Mediterranean resorts, Taormina has an area of secluded beaches joined by funicular to the delightful hilltop town. Overnight Taormina. Day 9: Messina, Reggio di Calabria. North to Messina to see the Romanesque cathedral, Baroque fountain and the art gallery with
paintings by Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina. Cross by ferry to Reggio di Calabria on the mainland of Italy and see the Riace Bronzes, over–life–size male nudes possibly by Phidias, and among the finest Greek sculpture to survive. Overnight Taormina. Day 10: Catania. Drive along the coast to Catania, with a fine Baroque centre. Here there are special visits to a private palazzo and a Byzantine chapel, where we have a light lunch with tasters of local produce. Free afternoon. Overnight Taormina. Day 11: Noto, Syracuse. Rebuilt after an earthquake in 1693, Noto is one of the loveliest and most homogenous Baroque towns in Italy. Founded as a Greek colony in 733 bc, Syracuse became the most important city of Magna Græcia. Overnight Syracuse. Day 12: Syracuse. Walk on the island of Ortygia, the picturesque and densely built original centre of Syracuse and see the Caravaggio painting in the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia. Visit the 5th-century bc Greek theatre, the largest of its type to survive, the stone quarries and the Roman amphitheatre. Overnight Syracuse. Day 13: Syracuse. Visit the excellent museum of antiquities in Syracuse. Fly from Catania, via Rome, to London, arriving Heathrow at c. 7.00pm. There may be itinerary changes due to closures for restoration work.
Practicalities Price: £3,860 (deposit £350). This includes: air travel (economy class) on scheduled Alitalia flights (Boeing 737); travel by private coach; accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 5 lunches (including 1 picnic) and 7 dinners with wine, water and coffee; all admission charges; all tips for waiters, drivers, guides; all taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager. Single supplement £580. Price without flights £3,640. Lecturer: Dr Ffiona Gilmore Eaves. Read Archaeology at Cambridge followed by a PhD on the early church at Porec. She has lectured for the WEA, for whom she founded and managed a study tours section, and for various extra-mural departments. She is the co-author of Retrieving the record: a century of archaeology at Porec published by the University of Zagreb. Hotels: Palermo (6 nights): a 16th-century palazzo renovated to become a 4-star hotel in the centre, furnished to a high standard. Taormina (4 nights): a 3-star, charming, family-run hotel in the old town (rooms vary in size and outlook). Syracuse (2 nights): a 4-star hotel on the island of Ortygia. How strenuous? A lot of walking, some of it over rough ground at archaeological sites and cobbled or uneven paving. Fitness and surefootedness are essential. Some long journeys. Average distance by coach per day: 69 miles. Small group: 12 to 22 participants.
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The Schubert Ensemble Early & Late Romantics: Quartets & Quintets 23–25 November 2012 (mz 433) The Castle Hotel, Taunton Price: £690 (Garden Room £820) A delightful programme of Romantic piano quintets and quartets with one of the world’s leading exponents of chamber music from this era before it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2013. William Howard (piano), Simon Blendis (violin), Alex Wood (violin), Douglas Paterson (viola), Jane Salmon (cello), Peter Buckoke (double bass). Illuminating talks and musical demonstrations are given by the musicians at the start of each concert on the works they are about to perform. Stay in one of the best hotels in England – the Castle is famed for its excellent and caring service and for its superb restaurant. Tickets are also available for individual concerts. Please see ‘Practicalities’. The Schubert Ensemble has established itself over twenty-nine years as one of the world’s leading exponents of music for piano and strings. Giving over fifty concerts per year, the ensemble has performed world-wide, has curated festivals, including most recently two at King’s Place in London, and has recorded extensively winning critical acclaim. This will be the ensemble’s second appearance at Taunton. For this weekend, they perform piano quintets and quartets by early- and lateRomantic composers. Their carefully crafted programme mixes the well known with rarer works, including a piano quintet by the fascinating Romanian composer
George Enescu. Juxtaposed with music by such favourites as Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn, this should provide for some interesting contrasts. Talks and demonstrations by the musicians form an integral part of the weekend, with approximately the first thirty minutes of each concert being dedicated to this. The members of the ensemble are present throughout the weekend and at dinners, offering ample opportunities to talk to them further about the music – or simply to get to know them.
The Programme Friday 23rd November, 5.45pm Vaughan Williams, Piano Quintet Schubert, ‘Trout’ Quintet
Music weekends have been held here since 1977, and Martin Randall Music Management took over the running of them in 2003. Concerts and talks are held in the air-conditioned Music Room.
Bedrooms are individually and charmingly decorated and well equipped. The majority have a bath with a shower above. Most are a good size, and the largest, with a sitting area and separate dressing room, overlook the garden in the remains of the twelfth-century castle. Single rooms – for which there is no supplement – are fairly small and have a single bed. Taunton lies on the doorstep of Exmoor and the Quantocks, areas with some of the loveliest countryside in England.
Saturday 24th November, 10.30am Schumann, Piano Quartet in E flat, Op.47 Fauré, Piano Quartet No.2 in G minor, Op.45
Saturday 24th November, 5.45pm Enescu, Piano Quintet in A minor, Op.29 Schumann, Piano Quintet in E flat, Op.44
Prices (all are per person): £690 or £820 in a Garden Room. Deposit £100. The price includes: admission to all 4 concerts; 2 nights’ accommodation at The Castle Hotel; 2 breakfasts, 2 afternoon teas and 2 dinners (with wine, water and coffee); interval drinks; all tips for hotel staff. There is no single supplement although some double rooms may be released at a later stage for single use at a supplement of £50.
Sunday 25th November, 10.30am Mahler, Piano Quartet Movement Mendelssohn, Piano Quartet No.2 in F minor, Op.2 Elgar, Piano Quintet in A minor, Op.84
The Hotel The Castle Hotel is one of the finest hotels in England, renowned for its excellent and caring service, for comforts traditional and modern and for its superb restaurant. It has been owned and run by the Chapman family for sixty years.
Extending your stay. Please contact us for a quote if you would like to stay at the hotel for extra nights either side of the weekend. Tickets to individual concerts: £20. Please contact the Castle Hotel if you wish to purchase these. Telephone: 01823 272 671.
‘To say they play with seasoned eloquence, a unanimity of feeling born of deep communal consideration, is an understatement, for they demand superlatives.’ Paul Driver, The Sunday Times.
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