Verdi Festival in Parma
The Verdi festival has been crowned 'Festival of the year 2018' by the International Opera Awards.
Giuseppe Verdi is one of few artists whose genius was recognised during their lifetime. That perhaps says all you need to know about the composer’s enduring appeal; whereas he himself discussed the burdens of such fame:
“Oh blessed a thousand times the peasant who is born, eats and dies without anybody bothering about his affairs.”
Join us as we chart the life of the artist and his emerging creative vision. We trace his ascent from humble beginnings right through to his position as a cultural icon of ‘new Italy’. Perhaps it's his versatility that has enchanted us for so long. As we will see, his creative touch stretches far beyond opera, to later religious works and chamber music.
At his death 200,000 bystanders lined the streets of Milan to bid farewell to their hero. We prefer to celebrate his life musically – why don’t you join us?
- Exclusive entry to the Conservatoire with a recital on period instruments
- Private recital with soprano
- Backstage tour of the Teatro Regio (subject to rehearsal programmes)
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.
This morning we visit the humble Roncole Verdi, birthplace of the great composer in October 1813. At the gorgeous 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 Casa Barezzi, a museum in the centre of Busseto. It was here that 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, before paying an afternoon visit to the Renata Tebaldi Museum, a delightful homage to one of the world’s best-loved 20th-century sopranos.
This evening we attend a performance of Macbeth.
We take a walk through the center of Parma via Piazza Garibaldi, an ancient square which once contained a Roman forum. We continue 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 there will be a special private meeting with the masterful Corale Verdi singers.
After breakfast, we walk through the heart of the city on our way 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 Attila.
We begin our day with guided tours of Casa della Musica, Museo dell’Opera, and Casa del Suono, a trio of buildings devoted to the history and evolution of music.
We continue 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.
It is then time 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.
After lunch we disperse for some more free time in Parma.
This evening we attend a performance of Le Trouvere (venue and opera TBC).
Our final morning will take us to Villa 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.
- 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 Verdi 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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