25 – 30 September 2019

Parma is one of the most beautiful of Italy’s smaller, historic cities and at the centre of the region where Giuseppe Verdi was born and lived for much of his life.

The Verdi Festival, crowned Festival of the Year 2018 by International Opera Awards, this year includes four major operas at the Teatro Regio di Parma and also at the very special Teatro Verdi in Busseto : I due Foscari, Luisa Miller, Aida and Nabucco.

We stay in the heart of Parma, one of the great gourmet centres of Italy. As well as the houses where Verdi was born and lived most of his life, we see some of the best Renaissance and Baroque churches and palaces in and around Parma and the city’s important art collections.

Cost: £2790 to include return flights (BA Heathrow - Milan), transfers, 5 nights accommodation with breakfast at the 4* Maria Luigia Palace, 3 lunches and 2 dinners, excursions and good tickets for all operas and the concert. Single supplement for use of double room £290. Deposit £400.

Wednesday 25 September
BA scheduled flight departs Heathrow at 15.00. Arrive Milan 18.05 and coach to our hotel in Parma. Dinner.

Thursday 26 September
Walking tour of Parma : the Farnese Theatre and the National Gallery with a focus on Correggio, Parmigianino and the famous picture by Leonardo da Vinci. We also see the Biblioteca Palatina with its large collection of Hebrew manuscripts. Backstage tour of the Teatro Regio (rehearsals permitting)


Free afternoon
I DUE FOSCARI at the Teatro Regio.
I due Foscari – one of Verdi’s operas from the “galley years” and first given in Rome in 1844. The story, after a play by Byron, is set in Venice. Performed at Covent Garden in 2014.

Friday 27 September
Free morning.

Afternoon coach to Verdi’s birth house in Le Roncole and the Villa Verdi at Sant’Agata, the farmhouse he built and lived in for much of his life. Then to Busseto for the Casa Barezzi museum – home of Verdi’s patron and father-in-law.

Pre-theatre tasting menu at a traditional osteria (patronised by Verdi) where we sample Parma ham, the exquisite Culatello di Zibello with cheeses and vegetable sauces.
AIDA in the Teatro Verdi, Busseto
Aida, written for the opening of the Suez Canal and first given in Milan in 1872, is thought of as on the grandest scale, but most scenes are intimate and it works well in a smaller theatre.

Saturday 28 September
Walking tour of Parma : Toscanini’s house, the Cathedral with its great ceiling fresco by Correggio, the Baptistery, the great Abbey Church of St John the Evangelist and abbey library with a Recital on its famous organ. Lunch.

Free afternoon.
LUISA MILLER at the Teatro Farnese
Written for Naples in 1849 and based on the Schiller play Kabale und Liebe, it includes the great tenor aria “Quando le sera al placido.” Last heard at Covent Garden in 2003.

Sunday 29 September
Coach to Cremona – the city of Stradivarius and Guareri and the birthplace of Monteverdi. Visit the Cathedral, the Violin Museum and a luthier’s workshop. On to an ancient ageing-cellar for a splendid Lunch of local produce.
Back in good time for
NABUCCO at the Teatro Regio Parma. Verdi’s first “hit” written for Milan in 1842 after the prematurely retired composer was given the libretto open on the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves. Regularly performed at Covent Garden, most recently in 2016

Monday 30 September
Early coach to Milan for BA scheduled flight dep 11.55 arrive Heathrow 13.00

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