Verdi Festival in Parma
The Verdi festival has been crowned 'Festival of the year 2018' by the International Opera Awards.
One of the few artists whose genius was recognised during his lifetime, Giuseppe Verdi is a true musical legend. This fact alone perhaps says all we need to know about his enduring appeal, but he also addressed the burdens of such fame, saying, “Oh, blessed a thousand times the peasant who is born, eats and dies without anybody bothering about his affairs”.
Treat yourself to a place on this tour as we chart the life of the artist and his emerging creative vision. We trace his ascent from his humble beginnings right through to his position as a cultural icon of ‘new Italy’. Maybe it is his versatility that has enchanted us for so long? As we will discover, his creative touch stretches far beyond opera to later religious works and even chamber music. Upon his death, 200,000 bystanders lined the streets of Milan to bid farewell to their hero. We prefer to celebrate his life musically, with a unique exploration of his career and legacy. So, why don’t you join us?
- Discover the birthplace of Verdi, the iconic composer, and learn more about his incredible legacy here
- Explore behind-the-scenes at the fantastic Teatro Regio on a special backstage tour
- Lose yourself in the beauty and charm of small Italian towns, where the cuisine is just as fantastic
- Spend time examining fascinating exhibits at musical museums, which range from technology to instruments
- Pay a very special visit to the Conservatorio di Parma, where we are treated to a private tour and recital
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Milan and transfer to Parma, enjoying welcome drinks at our stylish hotel, the four-star Maria Luigia. Later we take a gentle walk to a local restaurant for our evening meal.
We take a short walk to the mesmerising Teatro Farnese, a Baroque-style theatre constructed almost entirely out of wood, for a tour of its interiors and on-site museum.
We then cross Parma to the expansive Conservatorio di Parma, named after the librettist and composer Arrigo Boito. Here we are invited to an exclusive private tour and recital. We will also get a chance to view some of the impressive collections.
After lunch we can enjoy some free time to wander at our own pace.
This evening we attend a performance of Macbeth at the Teatro Regio.
This morning we visit the humble Roncole Verdi, birthplace of the great composer in October 1813. At the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, we see where the maestro was baptised, as well as the organ he learnt to play on in his youth.
Our next stop is Busseto where we visit a series the Renata Tebaldi Museum, a delightful homage to one of the world’s best-loved 20th-century sopranos and the Casa Barezzi where Verdi’s first ever concert took place – and where he met his first wife, Margherita. The museum is filled with valuable memorabilia, including recordings, papers and original furniture dating from Verdi’s day. We lunch at the intimate local restaurant Salsamenteria.
This evening there will be a special private meeting with the masterful Corale Verdi singers.
This morning is free to explore the city at your leisure.
In the afternoon we attend a performance of Attila at the Teatro Regio.
After breakfast, we make our way to the Teatro Regio for a backstage tour of Teatro Regio. Founded in 1821, the theatre prides itself on staging every one of Verdi’s creations, and plays a prominent role in the annual festival. We walk across the river Parma to Casa Toscanini where, in 1867, the acclaimed conductor Arturo Toscanini was born. A museum since 1967, the exhibits within this beautiful building trace his illustrious career.
We indulge in a generous buffet lunch and meet Icelandic soprano, Halla Margrét, who treats us to an enchanting private recital. Afterwards we can walk through the Parco Ducale, once the private gardens of the Farnese family and of Marie Louise, the Duchess of Parma, on our way back to the hotel.
This evening we attend a performance of Le Trouvere at the Teatro Farnese.
We begin our final day with guided tours of Casa della Musica, Museo and the Casa del Suono, a trio of buildings devoted to the history and evolution of music. We then leave Parma and visit the Villa at Sant’Agata. Commissioned by the composer in 1848, the villa originally housed his parents, but became his own home just three years later, until his death in 1901. Today its well-preserved rooms offer a tantalising glimpse of Verdi’s private life, containing items from the hotel room in Milan where Verdi died, as well as his beloved Fritz piano. After stopping for lunch, we transfer to the airport for our return flight home.
*Please note: this itinerary is dependent on the festival's opera schedule and, as such, is subject to change.
We meet at London’s Heathrow airport, where we catch a flight to Milan. Lunch will be enjoyed in flight and upon arrival in Italy, we travel to Parma. When we reach our hotel, we are greeted by welcome drinks and snacks, and we can get to know our tour group a little better before dinner together later.
We begin the first full day of our tour with a drive to Roncole Verdi, the birthplace of this iconic composer in October 1813. When we arrive, we take a tour of this area and learn more about the stories it holds before moving on to the striking Baroque-style Church of San Michele Arcangelo. Here we see where the maestro was baptised, as well as the organ he learnt to play on in his youth. We continue to the commune of Busseto and pay a visit to the interesting Casa Barezzi. It was here that Verdi’s first ever concert took place - and where he met his first wife, Margherita. After lunch, we take a walk to the Renata Tebaldi Museum and once we’ve finished discovering its collections, we make our way to Villa Pallavicino - the National Verdi Museum.
Today, we take a walk to the Toscanini Museum. This is the house where the great conductor himself was born, and it displays many interesting artefacts and houses great exhibits. It was donated to the city by Toscanini’s heirs and was subsequently made into a museum back in 1967. Everything we see here tells the story of his life and legacy, and we can also observe some of his personal belongings. After our visit here, we take a walk to La Pulcinella Café for lunch, which will be a Scandinavian-inspired buffet. In the afternoon, we return to our hotel via Parco Ducale, a tranquil and beautiful park that dates back to the 16th century.
When we leave our hotel this morning, we depart for a special backstage tour of Teatro Regio. This stunning opera house was inaugurated in the December of 1740 and houses an array of beautiful performances. Afterwards, we walk to the Conservatorio, taking in Piazza Garibaldi as we go. We stop for lunch at a traditional trattoria and then the remainder of our afternoon can be spent at leisure. We can use our free time to explore more of this great city or just relax before dinner.
A morning of rich culture awaits as we depart for the Casa della Musica museum, Museo dell’Opera and finally to visit Casa del Suono. The latter is an interesting, modern museum that showcases exhibits to do with music technology. From tape recorders to gramophones, we can experience music through the ages here. We will sit down to lunch at a contemporary bistro and the rest of the afternoon will be spent at leisure. Performance subject to programme.
Our final day has sadly arrived and we depart Parma for a visit to the Villa Sant’Agata. Afterwards, we enjoy our final taste of glorious Italian cuisine at a trattoria, and then we return the airport to catch our flight home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Opera Tickets - Entry to all performances in the programme. We request the seats in the centre stalls as these offer the best view although seats in boxes are usually more expensive. There is no guarantee that we will get the seats requested as availability is often limited. Where it is possible to avoid boxes as an alternative we will, but in some cases it may be the only option.
• Weather in October is generally still pleasantly warm with temperatures averaging 15 – 20°C during the day but storms, even if not local, can change this overnight. Although you are unlikely to need winter clothing you may wish to pack a jacket and shoes suitable for cooler weather.
• There will be quite a lot of walking around Parma although no more than about 20 minutes at a time. The hotel is about 15 minutes away from the opera house and the city centre. There are no lifts to the upper levels at the Verdi Museum in Busseto.
• There is no particular requirement regarding a dress code to any of the performances at the Regio and Farnese theatres but you may feel more comfortable with smart casual clothing.
• Because of the performance timings, most dinners will be in buffet form at 18:30.
• Parma is particularly renowned for its food and has many shops selling high-quality products. Cured meats and cheese can be brought back to the UK and some shops may be able to offer vacuum packaging.
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