Glyndebourne, London & Garsington

June 9 - 21, 2020

L’elisir d’amore, Dialogues des Carmelites & Alcina at Glyndebourne; Lucia di Lammermoor (Sierra, Grigolo) & Elektra (Pappano; Stemme) at ROH; Rusalka, Un giorno di regno and Mitridate, Re di Ponto at Garsington. Tours of Churchill Cabinet War Rooms, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court and Oxford. Grand Hotel Brighton; Firmdale Covent Garden Hotel London; Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (Oxford-Garsington).

Glyndebourne Opera House ExteriorOur annual trek to the UK is one of our most popular tours—always sold out, and always eliciting superlative feedback.

Tickets for the Glyndebourne Festival are notoriously difficult to get, and it is easy to understand why: the productions, singing and playing are truly world-class, the venue—a lovely dedicated opera house on the Christie Estate in the East Sussex countryside—is unique and welcoming, and the overall experience is one of the finest to be had at any festival, anywhere. It is posh without being pretentious, and the sublime music, superb cuisine (especially the formal picnic with butler service!) and even the friendly and extremely helpful Festival volunteers make for an unforgettable opera experience. We hear three performances at the Festival in 2020: L’elisir d’amore, Dialogues des Carmelites & Alcina. Our hotel is the luxurious, “Old World” Grand Hotel Brighton, where we enjoy Deluxe Ocean View rooms.

London is one of our favourite cities, with so much history and majesty in every direction. We will attend two performances at the Royal Opera House: Lucia di Lammermoor (Sierra, Grigolo) & Elektra (Pappano; Stemme). We will also attend one play (TBA). Our hotel is the Firmdale Covent Garden, a true gem, just a short walk from ROH.

The Garsington Festival is held each summer on the grounds of Wormsley Estate, a 2500-acre park which includes an 18th century country house once owned by Sir Paul Getty. Getty purchased the property in 1986 and spent several years restoring the house and estate back to its former glory. Our performances and meals here are always a highlight of the tour, and this year we see three: Dvořák’s beloved Rusalka, Verdi’s Un giorno di regno and Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto (not bad for a 14-year-old). Our hotel is the stately Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, one of the finest hotels in England, and whilst there, we dine in its Michelin 2-starred restaurant.

To register for the tour, click here.


Tuesday, June 9

Departures from your country of residence for overnight flights.

Wednesday, June 10

Upon arrival at Heathrow, you are met and transferred to the Grand Hotel Brighton, where your Deluxe Ocean View room awaits. Tonight we gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Thursday, June 11

Today we tour Brighton and visit the Royal Pavilion, built as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV. Tonight, our first performance at Glyndebourne is Annabel Arden’s beloved production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. An elegant “white linen” picnic with butler service is included during the long interval.

Friday, June 12

Today we offer an optional tour to Lewes, including the Priory and Anne of Cleves House. This evening we return to Glyndebourne for a new and devastatingly powerful Barry Kosky production of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, conducted by Robin Ticciati. Dinner is included at the Mildmay during the long interval.

Saturday, June 13

Today we visit Arundel Castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex and built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. Late afternoon, we make our way to Glyndebourne for the premiere of a lavish new Francesco Micheli production of Handel’s Alcina. Gianluca Capuano conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Dinner is included at the refined Middle & Over Wallop.

Sunday, June 14

Today we depart for London, stopping first at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the world’s largest collection of living plants. After lunch at leisure here we continue to London and check in at the Firmdale Covent Garden Hotel. This evening we enjoy a special dinner at Balthazar. 

Monday, June 15

This morning we meet for a highlights tour of historic London, with an inside visit at Westminster Abbey. Lunch is included at the famous Red Lion pub. Tonight we walk to the Royal Opera House for Richard Strauss’s Elektra.Strauss’s thrilling and audacious adaptation of this Greek tragedy receives a new staging by the award-winning director Christof Loy, with Nina Stemme in the title role.

Tuesday, June 16

Today we enjoy two very special private tours: The Churchill Cabinet War Rooms, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This evening we return to the Royal Opera House for Lucia di Lammermoor, featuring Nadine Sierra in the title role and Vittorio Grigòlo as Edgardo. Katie Mitchell directs a powerful and distinctive production of Donizetti’s tragic opera about a woman forced to the breaking point. Dinner is included at Balconies Restaurant pre-curtain (with dessert and coffee during the interval).

Wednesday, June 17

Enjoy the full day at leisure in London.

Thursday, June 18

Today we depart for Oxford, stopping first to tour Hampton Court. Following a lunch at leisure, we transfer and check in at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, one of the finest hotels in the UK. Tonight we attend our first performance at Garsington Opera: Dvořák’s Rusalka. The score is an intoxicating combination of folk tunes, courtly dances and soaringly romantic melodies which shimmer with a dark, glinting beauty. The water spirit  risks everything to follow the man she loves into the human world in a powerful and poignant tale of romance, love and loss. Natalya Romaniw (Eugene Onegin, 2016 and The Bartered Bride, 2019) returns in the title role with Michael Boyd (Eugene Onegin, 2016, Pelléas et Mélisande, 2017 and Don Giovanni, 2019) directing and Douglas Boyd conducting. Dinner is included during the long interval.

Friday, June 19

This morning we tour Oxford, including the Divinity School (1488), allowing time for you to visit the Ashmolean, the world’s first university museum (1678–1683). Tonight our performance at Garsington is Verdi’s rarely-performed Un giorno di regno. Verdi’s first comic opera, King for a Day (the only other being Falstaff) displays his mastery of rhythmic vitality and fast-paced ensembles. The plot is a vibrant tale of thwarted love and mistaken identities. In Verdi’s young hands the characters come vividly to life; the emotions are raw and real. Christopher Alden makes his Garsington directing debut, Tobias Ringborg (Idomeneo, 2016) returns to conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra with Richard Burkhard and Henry Waddington (Falstaff, 2018) as Belfiore and Barone di Kelbar. Dinner is again included during the long interval.

Saturday, June 20

Enjoy the morning at leisure to stroll the grounds of Le Manoir. Midday we gather for an exquisite lunch in the Michelin 2-starred restaurant on site before our final performance at Garsington, Mozart’s Mitridate, Re di Ponto. The young Mozart combines glorious melody, dazzling vocal fireworks and exquisitely tender melancholy in his first opera seria, premiered to immediate acclaim in the year of Beethoven’s birth. The king, Mitridate, and his two sons are all in love with Princess Aspasia; a complex web of rivalry, jealousy and pent up passion ensues. We welcome back Tim Albery to direct, conductor Clemens Schuldt makes his Garsington debut with The English Concert and Robert Murray (Semele, 2017) in the title role. A Farewell Reception is included during the long interval.

Sunday, June 21

Airport transfers are included and will be arranged on-site.