Verdi’s Italy: Florence, Milan & The Verdi Festival in Parma

September 21 - October 3, 2019

With La traviata and Pagliacci / Noi, due, quattro… in Florence; NabuccoAida, Luisa Miller and I due Foscari in Parma; L’elisir d’amore (Grigolo) and Giselle in Milan.

milanduomo

As our first Verdi Festival 2019 tour sold out in a few days, we have added this second tour, running is September instead of October.

Our annual pilgrimage to the Verdi Festival in Parma is a trip to the soul of Italy, and also to the soul of Italian opera. In 2019, we enjoy a wide array of operatic styles in Parma, Florence and Milan, with five Verdi masterworks at the core of the tour.

In Florence, we hear Verdi’s La traviata under the baton of Sebastiano Rolli, and featuring Daniele Naldi and Jessica Nuccio. In addition, we hear a double bill of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Panfili’s Noi, due, quattro… We also partake in some of the finest art, cuisine and wine to be had anywhere. Our hotel is the charming and perfectly-located L’Orologio.

In Parma, we hear four superb Verdi works that span a 30-year period of matchless creative genius: Nabucco (1842), I due Foscari (1844), Luisa Miller (1849) and Aida (1871). There are definitely many stranieri at the performances in Parma’s glorious Teatro Regio and Busseto’s miraculously tiny Teatro Verdi, but there are also locals, and although the peanut gallery at La Scala has the reputation, the Parmagiani are a tougher crowd. Yes, they can crush the spirit of a singer not yet ready for the big stage, but they can also warmly reward the deserving. Witnessing a performance at Teatro Regio is the ultimate Verdi experience—an orchestra and conductor with Verdi in their blood, singers born to sing the maestro’s lines, and an unforgettable electricity in the auditorium. This is a highlight in our year, every year. Our hotel is the 5-star Grand Hotel de la Ville.

In Milan, the most fashionable (and wealthiest) city in Italy, we attend two performance at Teatro alla Scala: Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore starring Vittorio Grigolo, and Giselle, the timeless ballet set to the music of Adolphe Adam. Svetlana Zakharova, the Prima Ballerina of the La Scala Theatre Ballet, stars. While in Milan, we enjoy a guided tour of the La Scala Museum, which could suffice as a museum of opera itself. We also explore the magnificent Duomo, visit Verdi’s final resting place at the Casa di Riposo and behold Leonardo’s The Last Supper at the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie. Our hotel here is one of our favourites anywhere–the Grand et de Milan, Verdi’s own city home until his death in 1901.

A daily itinerary will be available by early November 2018.

We will take only 18 on this tour, which sells out quickly each year. To register, click here.

 

Itinerary

Saturday, September 21

Independent departures for overnight flights.

Sunday, September 22

Upon arrival in Florence, you are met and transferred to the Hotel L’Orologio, overlooking Santa Maria Novella, one of the most beautiful squares in Florence. Please note that hotel check in is 2pm, and we cannot guarantee that your room will be ready before then. After settling into our rooms, we meet for cocktails and depart for a very special Welcome Dinner at Buca Mario, a local favourite.

Monday, September 23

After breakfast (included each day of the tour), we meet our excellent guide and tour Florence, including Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Duomo and the Church of Santa Croce. Following an afternoon at leisure, we meet for an unforgettable dinner at Il Verrocchio at the Villa la Massa.

Tuesday, September 24

Today we tour the highlights of the Uffizi, followed by a memorable lunch at Ora d’Aria. Those wishing to continue will tour the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. This evening we hear Verdi’s La traviata at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Sebastiano Rolli conducts a cast that includes Daniele Naldi and Jessica Nuccio.

Wednesday, September 25

Today we visit the Medici Chapels, which celebrate the former Grand Dukes of Tuscany. We also visit the San Lorenzo Market and end with a visit to the Accademia solely to view Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring David. This evening we return to Teatro del Maggio for a double bill: Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Riccarcdo Panfili’s Noi, due quattro…

Thursday, September 26

This morning we we depart for Parma, stopping in Bologna for a guided tour and lunch. Upon arrival in Parma, we check in at the Grand Hotel de la Ville, the only 5-star hotel in the city. This evening, we transfer to gorgeous Teatro Regio for the Festival premiere of a new production of Verdi’s I due Foscari.

Friday, September 27

This morning we tour the highlights of Parma, including the Duomo (Correggio cupola), Baptistry (Antelami), the spectacular Teatro Farnese in the Pilotta Palace, followed by lunch at Corale Verdi. This evening we hear our second Verdi Festival performance, Luisa Miller.

Saturday, September 28

Enjoy the morning at leisure, exploring the streets, shops and cafe’s of Parma. This afternoon, we meet to explore Verdi sites, including the Villa Sant’Agata. Dinner is included at the superb Antica Corte Pallavicina. Afterward, we experience a production of Aida in the tiny 300-seat Teatro Verdi in Busseto.

Sunday, September 29

Following a morning and lunch at leisure, we meet for a reception with the Club of the 27 (Parma’s Verdi fan club extraordinaire) prior to a late-afternoon performance of Nabucco at Teatro Regio. A private dinner reception follows at the opera house.

Monday, September 30

We depart by coach for Milan (2 hours) and check in at the Grand Hotel et de Milan, one of our favourite hotels in the world and Verdi’s home when he was in the city. Time for lunch and exploring/shopping. We meet in the lobby for a cocktail reception (light meal) prior to Adolphe Adam’s timeless ballet Giselle at Teatro alla Scala.

Tuesday, October 1

This morning we meet in the lobby and tour the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the magnificent Duomo, the La Scala Museum and the Ricordi Music Archive. Lunch is included at Arengario. Tonight we return to La Scala for a performance of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amoreMichele Gamba conducts a cast that includes Rosa Feola, Vittorio Grigolo, Ambrogio Maestri and Massimo Cavalletti.

Wednesday, October 2

Today we visit the Sforza Castle, with a stunning collection of works by Da Vinci, Mantegna, Michelangelo and more. We then behold Da Vinci’s The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie, ending with a private visit at the Casa di Riposo, the final resting place of Giuseppe Verdi. This evening, our Farewell Dinner is at Il Salumaio.

Thursday, October 3

Transfers for departing flights are included.