The Paris Opera is one of the great opera houses of the world and a new production of Wagner’s Ring is sure to be something special. Moreover, Philippe Jordan conducts in the city for the last time before taking up his new post at the Vienna State Opera.
The exceptional cast is headed by Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund with Eva-Maria Westbroek as Sieglinde. Andreas Schager, regarded by many as the leading Wagner heldentenor of the day, takes the role of Siegfried, with Martin Serafin as Brünnhilde and Iain Paterson as Wotan.
The production is by Spanish director Calixto Bieito, whose stagings sometimes cause controversy but are always highly theatrical and thought-provoking.
There are daily talks and discussions with the accompanying musicologist and time to visit the city’s outstanding galleries and museums. However, plenty of time is allowed to rest and to prepare for experiencing the greatest achievement of music drama.
Travel by Eurostar at c. 11.30am from London St Pancras to Paris. An introductory drink with the lecturer before dinner.
A morning lecture on the music before a visit to the Opéra Bastille for a guided tour. Some free time precedes dinner and a performance at the Opéra Bastille: Das Rheingold: Philippe Jordan (conductor), Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris, Iain Paterson (Wotan), Lauri Vasar (Donner), Matthew Newlin (Froh), Wilhelm Schwinghammar (Fasolt), Dimitry Ivashchenko (Fafner), Norbert Ernst (Loge), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Ekaterina Gubanova (Fricka), Anna Gabler (Freia), Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Erda), Tamara Banjesevic (Woglinde), Megan Marino (Wellgunde), Claudia Huckle (Flosshilde).
Visit the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the world’s greatest collection of Impressionist and early modern painting in a spectacular converted railway station. Lunch in the restaurant of the Grand Palais precedes a visit to the nearby Petit Palais, an under-appreciated collection for which space has been expanded.
Lunch and a lecture on the evening’s opera before a drive to Porte de la Villette to visit the Cité de la Musique and the music museum. A little free time before a performance at the Opéra Bastille: Die Walküre: Iain Paterson (Wotan), John Relyea (Hunding), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Ekaterina Gubanova (Fricka), Martina Serafin (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Sonja Šarić (Gerhilde), Celine Byrne (Ortlinde), Christina Bock (Waltraute), Katharina Magiera (Schwertleite), Regine Hangler (Helmwige), Julia Rutigliano (Siegrunde), Noa Beinart (Grimgerde), Marie-Luise Dressen (Rossweise).
Start the day at the Palais de Tokyo, which houses the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art and an important collection of fine and decorative arts from the interwar period. The permament collection is currently closed for renovation, due to reopen in Autumn 2019. After lunch continue to the Musée de l’Orangerie, which holds the celebrated circular paintings of water lilies by Monet, as well as the magnificent Walter Guillaume collection. The rest of the day is free.
Morning lecture. The rest of the day is left free for independent exploration or relaxation. Performance at the Opéra Bastille: Siegfried: Andreas Schager (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Iain Paterson (the Wanderer), Dimitry Ivashchenko (Fafner), Wiebke Lehmkuhl (Erda), Martina Serafin (Brünnhilde), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Julie Fuchs (Waldvogel).
Morning lecture followed by a visit to the Jacquemart André museum. This lavish residence, built in 1875 for the banker Edouard André, houses the collection he made with his wife, Nélie Jacquemart, a painter. It contains a fine collection of 18th-cent. paintings, Dutch, Flemish and Italian masters. In the afternoon walk to the the sumptuous Palais Garnier opera house for a guided tour, followed by dinner.
A lecture and lunch before the final performance at the Opéra Bastille: Götterdämmerung: Andreas Schager (Siegfried), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Gunther), Jochen Schmeckenbecher (Alberich), Ain Anger (Hagen), Ricarda Merbeth (Brünnhilde), Anna Gabler (Gutrune, 3rd Norn), Claudia Huckle (Flosshilde), Sarah Connolly (Waltraute, 2nd Norn), Wiebke Lehmkuhl (1st Norn) Tamara Banjesevic (Woglinde), Megan Marino (Wellgunde).
The morning is free before the Eurostar to St Pancras, arriving at c. 2.45pm.
Price – per person
Two sharing: £4,860 or £4,720 without Eurostar. Single occupancy: £5,630 or £5,490 without Eurostar.
Return rail travel (first class, Standard Premier) by Eurostar from London to Paris; travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners, with wine, as well as interval fingerfood and drinks at 3 of the performances; all admissions; tips for restaurant staff, drivers and guides; state and airport taxes; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Tickets (second category, stalls) for 4 performances are included, costing c. £750.
Villa Beaumarchais, Paris: a 4-star hotel, located on a quiet street, a short walk away from the Opéra Bastille and Marais district. Single rooms are doubles for sole use.
Visits require a fair amount of walking and standing around. There are some late nights but starts are leisurely. You need to be able to lift your luggage on and off the train.
The tour will operate with 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.