Sarasota Opera in Italy: Rome, Naples & Bari

April 10 - 20, 2018

An exclusive opportunity hosted by Maestro Victor DeRenzi and Executive Director Richard Russell. Featuring Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, Tosca, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Beethoven/Schubert concert, Private evening tour of the Sistine Chapel, plus Pompeii and Matera.

Rome, the Eternal City, is a living postcard reflecting Italy’s cultural, religious and historical identity. We spend four magical days and nights here and drink it to the lees, with three operas at Teatro Costanzi: Cavalleria rusticana (Anita Rachvelishvili, Martina Belli, Alfred Kim, George Gagnidze, Anna Malavasi) and Pagliacci (Fabio Sartori, Carmela Remigio, George Gagnidze, Matteo Falcier, Dionisios Sourbis), both conducted by Carlo Rizzi, plus a production of Tosca with sets and costume design based on the original 1900 production that premiered in this very house. Our 5-star hotel in Rome is the Grand Hotel Via Veneto, a modern statement of élan in an ideal location, near the Villa Borghese. Our guided touring is a survey of the city’s essential historic sites, featuring a private evening tour of the Sistine Chapel and some of the finest works of art in Italy.

In Naples, we stay in the city’s best hotel, The Vesuvio, where the great Enrico Caruso died on August 2, 1921 at the age of 48. The hotel overlooks the Gulf of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius providing an unforgettable backdrop. Our touring here takes in the best art and antiquities in the city, including a visit to Pompeii. Our performance at the glorious Teatro di San Carlo is Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

Bari is the capital of Apulia and is a popular tourist destination on the Adriatic Sea and is home to a revitalized opera company, whose house, Teatro Petruzzelli, is one of the most beautiful in Italy. In Bari, time seems to stand still, and as the Murge Plateau stretches further inland, panoramas reveal a landscape of olive and almond trees, vineyards and ancient masserie (farmhouses) that long ago served as a means of defense against foreign raids. Rocky strips of land alternate with long sweeps of white sand, with the crystal clear waters of the sea adding the finishing touches to the beauty of the landscape. Here nature’s charm merges with the picturesque villages and the precious heritage of imposing castles and marvelous cathedrals. The final night of our tour has us attending a performance of works by Beethoven and Schubert by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Gatti, at the wonderful Teatro Petruzzelli.

Join Executive Director Richard Russell, Aria Tours President David Merritt, and Cavaliere dell’ordine della Stella d’Italia—Maestro Victor DeRenzi—for an unforgettable exploration of Southern Italy.

*PLEASE NOTE that this is an exclusive tour for Patrons of Sarasota Opera. Anyone can register for the tour with a $350 contribution. Call us or email for details.


Tuesday, April 10

Independent departures for overnight flights. Early arrivals will be accommodated at a preferred rate.

Wednesday, April 11

Upon arrival in Rome, you are met by a driver in a luxury sedan and transferred to the Grand Hotel Via Veneto. Each guest/couple will have a Deluxe category room. This evening we enjoy cocktails prior to a private tour at the Vatican (Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms). Dinner is included at the hotel afterward.

Thursday, April 12

Buffet breakfast is included each day. Late morning we meet in the lobby and depart for a coach and walking tour (Piazza Barberini, Piazza della Repubblica, S. Maria degli Angeli, Terme di Diocleziano, Santa Maria Maggiore, S. Giovanni in Laterano Church, Caracalla Baths, Circo Massimo, Via di San Gregorio, the Arch of Constantine, Colosseum, Via dei Fori Imperiali, Piazza Venezia, Capitoline Hill, Largo Argentina). A casual lunch is included at Crispi 19. Tonight we depart by coach for Cavalleria rusticana/ Pagliacci at Teatro Costanzi (20.00 curtain).

Friday, April 13

Following breakfast, we transfer by minivan to Piazza Navona for a walking tour: Sant’Agostino (Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto), Pantheon, Church of San Luigi dei Francesi (Caravaggio’s St. Matthew paintings), Piazza Montecitorio, Sant’Andrea della Valle. This evening we offer an unprecedented opportunity to tour (privately) the Secret Vatican Archives, followed by dinner at Taverna Trilusa in Trastevere.

Saturday, April 14

This morning we gather and make the short walk to Villa Medici. Following our visit, we transfer to Palazzo Farnese for a private tour. Those wishing to explore the Fori afterward will be accommodated. This evening we transfer once again to Teatro Costanzi and take our seats for Puccini’s Tosca (16.00 curtain).

Sunday, April 15

Today we check out, transfer to Termini Station and board our high-speed train to Naples (1 hr. 10 mins). Upon arrival in Naples, we check in at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio (Deluxe rooms) and enjoy the world’s best pizza for lunch before a guided tour of the superb Museo Archeologico. This evening, we depart Teatro di San Carlo for Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (19.00 curtain).

Monday, April 16

This morning we depart for a guided visit of the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte (Titian, Mantegna and Botticelli). Following the tour, lunch and the afternoon are at leisure. Tonight we include dinner at Re Lazzarone.

Tuesday, April 17

Today we check out and transfer by private car to Bari, stopping in Pompeii (35 mins. drive) for a guided tour. We include lunch at Bettola del Gusto and then continue on to Bari (3 hrs, 30 mins). We arrive in Bari and check in at the Grand Albergo delle Nazioni. This evening is at leisure.

Wednesday, April 18

This morning we tour Bari, including Teatro Petruzzelli. A casual seafood lunch is included. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure for seaside strolling.

Thursday, April 19

Today we gather in the lobby and depart for a sightseeing day trip to Matera, elected Capital of Culture 2019. Known for its hillside peasant dwellings (sassi), it has many other pearls of beauty and culture. Lunch is included. Tonight we meet for a festive Farewell Dinner before a performance of works by Beethoven and Schubert by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Daniele Gatti, at Teatro Petruzzelli.

Friday, April 20

Transfers to the airport/rail station in Bari are included and will be arranged on-site.