Wagner - The Ring Cycle in Leipzig
Leipzig’s legacy of classical music leaves nothing to be desired, especially when it comes to The Ring Cycle being performed in its composer’s birthplace.
Wagner’s innovations and his artistic legacy are proudly celebrated in the city. Allow yourself to be transported by his monumental music drama, performed over four nights in Leipzig’s modern opera house.
No trip to this Saxony city is complete without stepping into the worlds of other famous German composers: Mendelssohn, Schumann and Bach. Their music is immortalised by museums and the houses they lived in, now preserved as monuments to their genius.
- Private recital at the Bach Museum
- Private tour of the Leipzig Opera house
- Cultural Excursion
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We land in Berlin and transfer to our hotel in the heart of historic Leipzig.
Upon arrival, we are treated to welcome drinks, before setting off to meet the Chairman of the Wagner Foundation at the opening of the Wagner celebrations. Dinner at a local restaurant.
On our first morning in this music-lovers’ mecca, we head straight for a tour of the Leipzig Opera House. Originally founded in the late 17th century, this is the third oldest opera house in Europe – though its modern incarnation was not erected until the 1950s, after allied bombing reduced its predecessor to rubble. A formidable building, with more than its share of drama.
After taking some time to explore more of the city, we follow our lunch with a talk on the first two operas of the Ring Cycle.
At 5 o’clock we make our way to the opera to watch Das Rheingold, otherwise known as the first instalment of Wagner’s magnificent Ring Cycle. This evening dinner is served in a local restaurant.
Following breakfast, we visit the house where Felix Mendelssohn lived and died, a beautifully-restored home containing informative displays on the composer’s work, as well as a selection of his own watercolour paintings. An exceptional insight into the world surrounding this man of many talents.
Our next stop is the nearby Grassi Museum, where we find the newly-renovated Museum of Musical Instruments. Within these chronologically-arranged exhibits we discover a wealth of musical heritage, with over 5,000 instruments including three 16th-century clavichords and a gorgeous Gothic harp.
After lunch, we tour the house of Robert and Clara Schumann, where they lived soon after marrying. We soak up the ambience of the reconstructed “Schumann Hall” – now a well-used concert room for contemporary performers – and step into Schumann’s office, where some of his greatest works were composed.
A rousing performance of Die Walküre awaits us later this afternoon. A light dinner will be served during the interval.
Today is largely free for us to stroll the streets of Leipzig at our leisure. Go shopping in some of the city’s best boutiques, explore its collection of historic churches, or unwind in one of Leipzig’s lavish coffee-houses.
After lunch there will be a talk on the last two operas of the Ring Cycle.
Later today the harmonies of Wagner’s fantastic libretto Siegfried transport us to a fantastical world of gods and monsters. A light meal will be served during the interval.
There is another special treat in store for us this morning: a private recital at the excellent Bach Museum – a truly thrilling way to start the day. While here we also take time to look around the museum itself, with its interactive exhibits and – most excitingly of all – the “Treasure Room”, where we can get up close to some of Bach’s original scores and manuscripts.
After lunch in the city, we go on to view our fourth and final opera of the trip, Götterdämmerung, also known as the “Twilight of the Gods”. A light meal will be served during the interval.
After a hearty last breakfast we drive to Berlin airport and fly 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.
The weather may be a little unpredictable in May although temperatures should be pleasant averaging 15-20° C. We suggest layers and something suitable for rain, just in case.
All the sites we visit are within walking distance. Most of the walking will occur day 3 when we visit three museums although there will be breaks and chances to sit down. The longest distance will require about 20 minutes. As there is a fair amount of walking generally we suggest packing some comfortable shoes.
Lunch will be provided each day except on day 6, the day of departure. On arrival, we will have a light lunch en route to Leipzig from Berlin airport and other lunches will be in restaurants in Leipzig. All dinners are included.
With the exception of the first opera, Rheingold, the others have a duration of 5 – 6 hours. Because of this, we will be having dinner at the hotel after the performance of the first opera only. During the interval for the other three operas, the opera house provides something to eat. These meals are set by the opera house and it is not possible to seek alternatives – even the wine is chosen for us. However, there will be a different dish for each evening so that there will be some variety.
Although there is no rule regarding dress to the opera you may feel more comfortable in smart/casual clothing. Malcolm Miller, your guide lecturer, will be giving information on all the operas and providing a synopsis. Programmes are available to buy at the opera house for €5 each. Surtitles are in German only.
For any personal purchases, you may wish to make credit/debit cards can generally be used although you may wish to have a little cash (Euros) on you as some shops, cafés and restaurants do not accept cards.