Munich is perhaps the most attractive of Germany’s cities, and has always been a major centre for opera. The Nationaltheater is at the moment enjoying a reputation as one of the finest houses in Europe: ‘La Scala may be grander…, Vienna more stately, the Metropolitan more prestigious… but for all-round excellence in pretty well every department, Munich’s Nationaltheater has the edge, both in matters of creature comforts and sheer dedication to the art’.
Opera apart, Munich is widely considered to be the most agreeable city in Germany in which to live, and rivals Berlin for wealth of art and historic architecture. Munich is everyone’s favourite German city. The seat of the Wittelsbachs, who ruled Bavaria from 1255 until 1918 as Counts, Dukes, Electors and, from 1806, as Kings, Munich was a city which grew up around a court, not one spawned by trade or industry. Consequently, artistically and architecturally it is still one of the best-endowed centres in Europe.
London to Munich. Fly at c. 12.45pm from London Heathrow to Munich. Tour the city by coach to see much of the best of Munich’s historic architecture: Neo-Classical Königsplatz, historicist Ludwigstrasse, Jugendstil houses and the modern Gasteig Arts Centre. The first of four nights in Munich.
After the daily talk, set out on a walking tour which culminates in a visit to the Alte Pinakothek, one of the world’s greatest Old Master galleries. The afternoon is free, though a visit to the Residenz with its exquisite Rococo Theatre by Cuvillies is recommended. Early evening performance at the Nationaltheater: Tannhäuser (Wagner) with Simone Young (conductor), Romeo Castellucci (director), Georg Zeppenfeld (Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia), Klaus Florian Vogt (Tannhäuser), Christian Gerhaher (Wolfram von Eschenbach), Dean Power (Walther von der Vogelweide), Peter Lobert (Biterolf), Ulrich Reß (Heinrich der Schreiber), Martin Snell (Reinmar von Zweter), Lise Davidsen (Princess Elisabeth), Daniela Sindram (Venus), Sarah Gilford (A Young Shepherd)
Drive out to Nymphenburg, summer retreat of the ruling Wittelsbachs. Set in an extensive park, there is a spreading Baroque palace and several delightful garden pavilions, the apogee of Rococo. Free time in the afternoon, opportunity to visit more of Munich’s many outstanding art collections. Evening performance at the Nationaltheater: Turandot (Puccini) with Jader Bignamini (conductor), Carlus Padrissa (director), Anna Netrebko (Princess Turandot), Ulrich Reß (The Emperor Altoum Timur), Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Timur, the deposed King of Tartary), Yusif Eyvazov (The Unknown Prince, Calaf), Golda Schultz (Liù), Boris Prýgl (Ping), Kevin Conners (Pang), Andres Agudelo (Pong), Bálint Szabó (A Mandarin), Andres Agudelo (The Prince of Persia).
Morning walk to see more of the city’s treasures, including the vast Gothic cathedral and the Asamkirche, a Baroque masterpiece. Free time in the afternoon. Early evening performance at the Nationaltheater: Tristan and Isolde (Wagner) with Kirill Petrenko (conductor), Krzysztof Warlikowski (director), Jonas Kaufmann (Tristan), Mika Kares (King Marke), Anja Harteros (Isolde), Wolfgang Koch (Kurwenal), Sean Michael Plumb (Melot), Okka von der Damerau (Brangäne), Dean Power (A shepherd), Christian Rieger (A steersman), Manuel Günther (A young sailor).
Munich to London. Fly from Munich to London Heathrow, arriving at c. 1.45pm.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £3,290 or £3,070 without flights. Single occupancy: £3,630 or £3,410 without flights.
Air travel (Euro Traveller) with British Airways; accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 2 dinners and 1 lunch with wine; private coach for the excursions and transfers; admissions; tips for waiters, drivers and guides; all state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Tickets (top category) for 3 operas are included.
Platzl Hotel München: 4-star hotel located in the heart of the old city, a 5-minute walk from the opera house. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
The tour involves a lot of walking and standing in museums and churches and should not be attempted by anyone who has difficulty with everyday walking and stair-climbing. Average distance by coach per day: 11 miles.
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.
'It promised to be a very fine tour and it lavishly fulfilled its promise.'
'The four operas were all very different with performers of the highest calibre – indeed, quite outstanding. The productions were in our opinion very thought provoking and innovative; we were greatly impressed.'
'Outstanding performers give outstanding performances. Your selection leaves nothing to be desired. To see both Kaufmann and DiDonato live in one week. Magic!'