One of the most acclaimed pianists of today, Angela Hewitt inaugurated her own music festival in the heart of Italy in 2005. She bought land overlooking Lake Trasimeno, and built a house as a retreat from her gruelling concert tours. The idea of a festival in the vicinity emerged and with characteristic energy Hewitt made it a reality, charming local officials into giving the necessary permissions and enlisting their enthusiastic support. For her festival, she gathers around her artists of international standing, and as they make music together the atmosphere created is one of complete enjoyment for performers and audience alike.
Our group stays in a comfortable 5-star hotel in the centre of Perugia. There are excursions to such significant towns as Cortona, Assisi and Gubbio, and by boat on Lake Trasimeno itself.
Concerts take place in the courtyard of the castle belonging to the Knights of Malta in nearby Magione, as well as in the Basilica di San Pietro in Perugia, the Teatro Signorelli in Cortona and the Chiesa di San Francesco in Trevi.
Fly at c. 10.45am from London Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino and drive to Perugia.
Perugia. There are major works of art and architecture to see in Perugia including the mediaeval town hall housing the National Gallery of Umbria. Opening concert at the Basilica di San Pietro, Perugia with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Sir Roger Norrington (conductor), Angela Hewitt (piano): Mozart, Overture to ‘Don Giovanni’; Mozart, Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466; Beethoven, Symphony No.3 in E-flat (‘Eroica’)
Assisi. Visit Assisi, one of the most evocative of Italian towns, with its austere mediaeval streets and world-class paintings. In San Francesco, mother church of the Franciscan Order, is one of the greatest assemblages of mediaeval fresco painting, including the controversial cycle of the Life of St Francis. Gala dinner in Magione, often hosted personally by Angela Hewitt. Evening recital at the Castle of the Knights of Malta, Magione with Angela Hewitt (piano): Bach, Fantasy in C minor, BWV 906; Aria Variata ‘alla Maniera Italiana’, BWV 989; Partita No.3 in A minor, BWV 827; Sonata in D minor, BWV 964; Capriccio in E, BWV 993; Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904
Isola Maggiore. Take a boat trip on Lake Trasimeno to visit Isola Maggiore and its church with 14th- and 15th-century frescoes. Evening concert at the Castle of the Knights of Malta, Magione with Angela Hewitt (piano), Brooklyn Rider (string quartet): Bach, Partita No.6 in E minor, BWV 830; Beethoven, Piano Sonata in E, Op.109; Colin Jacobsen, Beloved, do not let me be discouraged; Beethoven, String Quartet No.11 in F minor, Op.95 (‘Serioso’)
Gubbio. Drive to Gubbio, one of the most delightful mediaeval towns in Italy. Its streetscape and buildings are remarkably well-preserved. The noble 14th-century town hall has a good picture collection and the Palazzo Ducale, built for Federico da Montefeltro, has an impressive inner courtyard. Evening recital at the Teatro Morlacchi, Perugia with the four pianists Janina Fialkowska, Angela Hewitt, Jon Kimura Parker, Charles Richard-Hamelin: A special concert to mark July 1st, Canada’s official 150th birthday. Programme to be confirmed, made up of solos, duos, and arrangements for four pianos.
Perugia. The morning is spent in Perugia. Visit two merchants’ halls, one with frescoes by native artist Perugino. Evening concert at the Chiesa di San Francesco, Trevi with The Orlando Consort: Programme includes music by Johannes Ciconia, Guillaume Dufay, Loyset Compère, Antoine Brumel and Josquin Desprez.
Cortona. The morning is free in Perugia. In the afternoon, drive around Lake Trasimeno to the charming Tuscan hill town of Cortona. See the high quality collection of Renaissance art in the Museo Diocesano and the Gothic altarpiece in San Domenico. Gala dinner in Cortona. Evening concert at Teatro Signorelli, Cortona with Angela Hewitt (piano), Andrea Oliva (flute), Alessandro Carbonare (clarinet) and other musicians to be announced: Bach, Trio Sonata from The Musical Offering, BWV 1079; Mozart, ‘Kegelstatt’ Trio in E-flat, K.498; Bach, Sonata for flute and keyboard in E-flat, BWV 1031; Mozart, Clarinet Quintet in A, K.581.
Montefalco. Visit Montefalco, a delightful hilltop community with magnificent views of the valley below and hills around. In the deconsecrated church of S. Francesco are frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. Evening recital at the Castle of the Knights of Malta, Magione with Angela Hewitt (piano): programme to include works by Scarlatti and Beethoven.
Drive to Rome Fiumicino airport and fly to London Heathrow, arriving c. 5.00pm.
Price, per person
Two sharing: £3,670 or £3,480 without flights. Single occupancy: £4,060 or £3,870 without flights.
7 concert tickets (worth c. £500), flights (Euro Traveller) with British Airways (Airbus 321); travel by private coach; hotel accommodation as described below; breakfasts; 2 lunches (including one picnic) and 8 dinners with wine, water, coffee (two of which are gala dinners with all festival participants, often hosted by Angela Hewitt); all admissions; all tips; all taxes; the services of the lecturers.
Hotel Sina Brufani Palace, Perugia: all nights are spent at the Brufani Palace, a grand 5-star hotel five minutes’ walk from the main square in Perugia. Situated on the edge of the hill-top historical centre, it has spectacular views down over the surrounding countryside. There is a good restaurant, small indoor pool and roof terrace.
There is quite a lot of walking, much of it on roughly paved and often steep streets and in hot weather conditions. There are late nights throughout the tour, and most mornings start at 9.30 and 10.00am. Average distance by coach per day: c. 72 miles.
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
'This is a special tour and the magical concerts in the castle courtyard put it on the top of my music festival list.'
'The music each evening confirmed the festival's already high reputation for a series of excellent concerts.'
'The mixture of art and music made for a perfect holiday.'