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The Ring in Berlin - Wagner in the German capital

Wagner’s monumental Ring of the Nibelung cycle anatomises the shortcomings of materialistic society – mankind’s greed, its lust for political power, its despoliation of the environment – and offers a powerful vision of a better future. 

Visits on most days to study the art, architecture and history of Berlin, and those sites most relevant to Wagner.

Second category tickets for all four performances.

Talks on the operas by Barry Millington, chief music critic for London’s Evening Standard and editor of The Wagner Journal. Walks and gallery visits with a Berlin-based art historian.

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03 - 11 Apr 2023 Fully booked

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Overview

Long established as the finest Wagner conductor of the modern era, Daniel Barenboim collaborates with the leading Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov and a stellar cast of singers on a new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. As he enters his eighties, Barenboim’s peerless grasp of the musico-dramatic complexities of Wagner’s masterpiece becomes increasingly evident and his appearances ever more sought after. Staged in the newly refurbished Berlin Staatsoper as part of the Easter Festtage, and performed with Barenboim’s own superlative Berlin Staatskapelle, this is a Ring cycle not to be missed. 

The first-rate cast includes Michael Volle as Wotan, Anja Kampe as Brünnhilde and Andreas Schager as Siegfried. There will be lectures on each instalment of the Ring by Barry Millington, the Wagner specialist and editor of The Wagner Journal and walks or excursions on most days with a Berlin-based cultural historian. However, plenty of time is allowed to rest and to prepare for experiencing the greatest achievement of music drama. 

Day 1

Fly at c. 1.15pm from London Heathrow to Berlin Tegel (British Airways). 


Day 2

A morning lecture on the music before an introductory morning walk, finishing at the ‘Museums Island’, a group of major museum buildings. Explore the Alte Nationalgalerie, which superbly displays European painting of the 19th century and German Romantics. Opera at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden: Das Rheingold: Daniel Barenboim (conductor), Michael Volle (Wotan), Lauri Vasar (Donner), Siyabonga Maqungo (Froh), Mika Kares (Fasolt), Peter Rose (Fafner), Rolando Villazón (Loge), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Alberich), Stephan Rügamer (Mime), Claudia Mahnke (Fricka), Anett Fritsch (Freia), Anna Kissjudit (Erda), Evelin Novak (Woglinde), Natalia Skrycka (Wellgunde), Anna Lapkovskaja (Flosshilde).


Day 3

Morning lecture on the music, before departing for a walk that takes in Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße and the Brandenburg Gate. It ends with the Reichstag dome and lunch at the roofgarden restaurant there. Opera at the Staatsoper: Die Walküre: Michael Volle (Wotan), Mika Kares (Hunding), Robert Watson (Siegmund), Claudia Mahnke (Fricka), Anja Kampe (Brünnhilde) Vida Miknevičiūtė (Sieglinde), Clara Nadeshdin (Gerhilde), Christiane Kohl (Helmwige), Michal Doron (Waltraute), Alexandra Ionis (Schwertleite), Anett Fritsch (Ortlinde), Natalia Skrycka (Siegrune), Anna Lapkovskaja (Grimgerde), Kristina Stanek (Rossweisse).


Day 4

Potsdam. The enclosed park of Sanssouci was created as a retreat from the affairs of state by Frederick the Great. It consists of gardens, parkland, palaces, pavilions and auxiliary buildings. Visit his relatively modest single-storey palace atop terraces of fruit trees and the exquisite Chinese teahouse. Lunch in Potsdam followed by a drive through the town centre with its Dutch quarter and cathedral by Schinkel. Free evening. 


Day 5

Visit Schloss Charlottenburg, the earliest major building in Berlin, an outstanding Baroque and Rococo summer palace with fine interiors, paintings (Watteau especially) and extensive gardens. Optional visit to the Berggruen Collection of Picasso and classic modern art. Free evening, or Optional Concert at the Philharmonie Berlin: Missa Solemnis, Beethoven: Daniel Barenboim (conductor), Elena Stikhina (soprano), Anna Kissjudit (alto), Saimir Pirgu (tenor), René Pape (bass), Staatsopernchor, Staatskapelle Berlin.


Day 6

Morning lecture. See Potsdamer Platz, Europe’s greatest building project in the 1990s, with several buildings by star architects. Continue to the nearby ‘Kulturforum’. Pass the Philharmonie (Hans Scharoun) and visit the Gemäldegalerie, one of Europe’s major collections of Old Masters and the Museum of Musical Instruments. Opera at the Staatsoper: Siegfried: Andreas Schager (Siegfried), Stephan Rügamer (Mime), Michael Volle (the Wanderer), Peter Rose (Fafner), Anna Kissjudit (Erda), Anja Kampe (Brünnhilde), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Alberich), Victoria Randem (The Woodbird).


Day 7

Potsdam. The enclosed park of Sanssouci was created as a retreat from the affairs of state by Frederick the Great. It consists of gardens, parkland, palaces, pavilions and auxiliary buildings. Visit his relatively modest single-storey palace atop terraces of fruit trees and the exquisite Chinese teahouse. Lunch in Potsdam followed by a drive through the town centre with its Dutch quarter and cathedral by Schinkel. Free evening. 


Day 8

Morning lecture. The rest of the day is left free for independent exploration or relaxation. Final opera at the Staatsoper: Götterdämmerung: Andreas Schager (Siegfried), Lauri Vasar (Gunther), Johannes Martin Kränzle (Alberich), Mika Kares (Hagen), Anja Kampe (Brünnhilde), Mandy Fredrich (Gutrune), Anna Lapkovskaja (Flosshilde), Violeta Urmana (Waltraute), Evelin Novak (Woglinde), Natalia Skrycka (Wellgunde), Noa Beinart, Kristina Stanek, Anna Samuil (Three Norns).


Day 9

Homeward journey. Fly back to Heathrow from Berlin Tegel, arriving at c. 1.30pm.

Image of Barry Millington

Barry Millington

Writer, lecturer and broadcaster specialising in Wagner. He is founder/editor of The Wagner Journal and author of eight books on Wagner including The Wagner Compendium and Richard Wagner: The Sorcerer of Bayreuth. He is Chief Critic for the Evening Standard. He has also acted as dramaturgical adviser at opera houses internationally.

Price, per person

Two sharing: £5,980 or £5,840 without flights. Single occupancy: £6,940 or £6,800 without flights.


Included

Flights (Euro Traveller) with British Airways (Airbus A319 ); travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 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 art historian.  


Music

Tickets (second category) for 4 performances are included.


Accommodation

The Regent Berlin: an elegant hotel decorated in Regency style. Rooms are of a good size and excellent standard. Located within walking distance of the major museums and a 5-minute walk from the opera house.


How strenuous?

There is quite a lot of walking  and standing around in art galleries and museums. Average distance by coach per day: 11 miles.

Are you fit enough to join the tour?


Group size

The tour will operate with between 10 and 22 participants.


Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting. 

'This was my first time with Martin Randall and I am most impressed. The organisation throughout was superb and I couldn't have enjoyed it more.'

'I love Wagner and the orchestra and singing were superb. So glad I went.'

'The choice of itinerary was good – plenty to do but not too packed in so there was enough time to relax.'