The Elbe Art and Music Cruise

From the north of Germany to the heart of Bohemia, the Elbe River and its tributaries link the great cultural centres of Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Prague.

In the company of classical music broadcaster Christopher Lawrence, the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales’ Liz Gibson, and Berlin-based art expert Thomas Abbott, discover the art treasures and musical riches of these magnificent cities as you gently cruise the River aboard the M/S Elbe Princesse.

By day immerse yourself in some of the world’s greatest art collections, discover smaller hidden gems such as Potsdam, Magdeburg, Wittenberg and Litomerice and marvel at the natural beauty of ‘Saxon Switzerland’. In the evenings, enjoy performances in the new Berlin State Opera, experience a night at Dresden’s Semper Opera and concerts by the likes of the Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic orchestras.

Extend your journey with an optional extension to Vienna, the city of art and music, which in 2018 will host special exhibitions devoted to Viennese Modernism.

 

This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.

Suggested departure from Australia and New Zealand on Emirates / Qantas flights (via Dubai and Frankfurt or Munich). Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist with your travel arrangements.

Early afternoon arrival and check-in to your hotel housed in the historic Mitte district, within walking distance of the Berlin State Opera, Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate and the Gendarmenmarkt.

This evening, join Christopher, Liz and Thomas for a welcome briefing and dinner.

(D)

Depart the hotel for a morning orientation tour of Berlin, from Alexanderplatz in the east to Charlottenburg Palace and the Kurfurstendamm in the west.

Finish the morning with a relaxing lunch cruise along the River Spree as you observe Berlin’s famous historical sights and cutting-edge architecture from Museum Island to the House of World Cultures via the new government and diplomatic districts.

After lunch, begin your exploration of Berlin’s extraordinary collection of museums with a visit to the Alte Nationale Galerie which houses one of the most important collections of 19th century painting in Germany, and includes masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich, Adolph Menzel, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Auguste Rodin.

Tonight, enjoy the first of your included musical performances, with a concert at the Berlin Philharmonie by the Deutsches Symphonie Orchestra, conducted by Antonio Méndez, with soloists Emmanuel Tjeknavorian (violin) and Marc Gruber (horn).

PROGRAMME:
Ludwig van Beethoven
Leonore Overture, No. 2

Jean Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D-minor, Op 47

Reinhold GlièreConcerto for Horn and Orchestra in B-flat major, Op. 91

Richard StraussTill Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Op. 28

(BL)

Following a morning talk, continue your exploration of Museum Island with a visit to the Neues Museum, home to selected objects from the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Classical Antiquities Collection. The star attraction is the bust of Nefertiti.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to further explore the treasures of Museum Island including the Pergamum Museum, the Bode Museum and the Altes Museum.

Tonight you have the opportunity to attend Puccini’s Tosca at the just reopened (Oct 2017) Berlin State Opera. Conducted by Simone Young, the cast features Adrianne Pieczonka (Tosca), Yusif Eyvazov (Cavarodossi), David Oštrek (Angelotti), Jan Martiník (Mesner) and Florian Hoffmann (Spoletta). Not included in tour price. Cat. II tickets AUD 164 including booking/handling fee.

(B)

Following a morning talk, visit the Gemäldegalerie (Old Masters Paintings), first opened in 1830 and home to one of the world’s leading collections of European art from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The collection includes masterpieces from artists such as Dürer, Cranach, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer.

After, enjoy some free time for lunch on your own and the chance to explore the nearby

Museum of Decorative Arts OR Museum of Musical Instruments, all located at the Kulturforum.

Tonight, return to the Philharmonie for a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle with Krystian Zimerman (piano).

PROGRAMME:
Leonard Bernstein – Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety for Piano and Orchestra.
Krystian Zimerman piano

Andrew Norman – New Work commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation (Première)

Magnus Lindberg – New Work commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation (Première)

Brett Dean – New Work commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation (Première)

Scott BradleyTom and Jerry

Erich Wolfgang KorngoldThe Adventures of Robin Hood Symphonic Portrait for Orchestra, arr. by John Mauceri (Excerpts)

(B)

Checkout of your hotel and enjoy a full day tour to the nearby garden city of Potsdam.

Spend the morning in Frederick the Great’s Potsdam Park. Choose from a visit to either his Rococo masterpiece Sans Souci and the nearby Picture Gallery and Chinese Pavilion, or the Baroque New Palace, boasting rich interiors which have recently been restored to their original magnificence.

After lunch at a local restaurant, drive through the Russian Colony and see the Dutch Quarter. Finish with a visit to St. Nicholas’ Church built to plans by Karl Friedrich Schinkel between 1830 and 1837.

Late afternoon embarkation in Potsdam on the Elbe Princesse, your ‘floating hotel’ for the next 8 nights. Tonight, join the Captain and crew for a welcome aboard briefing, reception and dinner.

(BLD)

This morning will be spent cruising the Havel River before it joins the Elbe River.

During the morning, join your tour leaders for a talk on the Elbe River, Magdeburg and Wittenberg.

Early afternoon arrival at Magdeburg, a former imperial seat, Hanseatic power and fortified city. Disembark for an afternoon tour of the Cathedral, the oldest Gothic church in Germany, the Hundertwasser Citadel and the Convent of Our Lady Art Museum, which houses exhibitions of contemporary art.

Early evening departure from Magdeburg and continue upstream along the Elbe River.

(BLD)

Early morning arrival in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, important as a seat of the Elector of Saxony, for its close connection with Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon and the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. During a morning tour, see Martin Luther’s home; the Renaissance style house-museum of humanist and reformer Philipp Melanchthon; St. Mary’s Church where Luther often preached, and which houses the Last Supper alter piece by Lucas Cranach the Elder; and the Castle Church where Luther is said to have nailed his 95 theses in 1517.

Return to ship to the Elbe Princesse for lunch and early afternoon departure. Continue your journey along the Elbe through the rural landscapes of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

During the afternoon join your tour leaders for an introduction to the museums and music of Meissen and Dresden.

(BLD)

Morning arrival and disembarkation at Meissen. Enjoy a walking tour of the historic Old Town followed by a visit to the famous Meissen Porcelain Factory.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue by coach to nearby Dresden. Spend the afternoon in the Residence Castle, home to the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) of historic treasures from Baroque to Classicism. After the devastation of World War II, the Green Vault has been completely restored. Today, its treasures are shown in two exhibitions: the Historic Green Vault, which recreates the gilt opulence of the original 18th century treasure chamber and the New Green Vault, where around 1,000 selected objects are displayed in a more modern setting.

Late afternoon return to the ship in Dresden.

(BLD)

Following an introduction to the museums of Dresden and tonight’s performance at the Semper Opera, enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town of Dresden, including a visit to the Frauenkirche. After, you have a choice of visits to either the Gemaldergalerie (Old Masters Picture Gallery) OR the Albertina (Art from Romanticism to the Present).

Afternoon at leisure to further explore Dresden. We suggest a visit to the Porcelain Collection, housed in the Zwinger Palace.

Following an early dinner, attend a performance of Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ at the historic Semper Opera House.

(BLD)

Early morning departure from Dresden and arrival at Konigstein in the heart of the scenic, mountainous region dubbed the ‘Saxon Switzerland’. Disembark for a morning tour to Konigstein Fortress, offering magnificent views over the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Drive along the Elbe through the spa town of Bad Schandau to reboard the ship at Decin, just inside the Czech Republic.

After lunch on board continue your journey along the Elbe through the scenic rural landscapes of the Czech state of Bohemia. Tonight, the ship will be moored at Lovosice.

(BLD)

Early morning departure from Lovosice for the royal city of Litoměřice at the confluence of the Elbe and Ohře. Enjoy a walking tour of the extensive historical centre of the city renowned for its fine Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance buildings, bordered by well-preserved Gothic fortifications.

Late morning reboard the ship in Roundnice for an afternoon sailing along the upper reaches of the Elbe River before entering the Vlatava River. Tonight, celebrate the last day of sailing with the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and dinner. Overnight, the ship will be moored at Kralupy.

(BLD)

Morning arrival at Roztoky, on the outskirts of Prague. Disembark for a morning tour of the historic Old and Lower Towns of Prague. Walk along elegant Paris Street and through the former Jewish Quarter to Old Town Square and over the Charles Bridge to the Lower Town.

Reboard the ship for lunch, followed by an afternoon at leisure.

Tonight you have the opportunity to attend a concert at the Rudolfinum by the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Semyon Bychkov with Kirill Gerstein (piano).

PROGRAMME:
Johannes Brahms – Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 15

Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World“, Op. 95

Not included in tour price. Tickets from AUD 60 – 100, including booking/handling fee and return transfers. Limited seats available.

(BLD)

Disembark the Elbe Princesse and transfer to Prague Castle for a morning visit to the Lobkowicz Palace and Museum, owned by the Lobkowicz Czech noble family and the only privately owned part of Prague Castle. Highlights from the Museum include works by masters such as Canaletto, Brueghel the Elder, Cranach, and Velázquez; an impressive display of family and royal portraits; fine porcelain, ceramics and rare decorative arts from the 16th to 20th centuries; musical instruments and original scores and manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart.

After lunch enjoy a walking tour of Prague Castle including a visit to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.

Mid-afternoon transfer from the Castle to your hotel for a stay of two nights.

Tonight, attend a performance by the National Theatre Opera of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette at the historic Karlin Music Theatre (1881). Conducted by Marco Guidarini / Richard Hein, this new production (2016) is by the young Slovak director Sláva Daubnerová and features leading artists of the National Theatre Opera.

(BL)

Enjoy a day at leisure to further explore Prague.

This evening, enjoy an exclusive private recital by the Zemlinsky Quartet featuring chamber works by the great Czech composers Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček and Suk, followed by a special farewell dinner.

(BD)

Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. If returning to Australia today, depart Prague on Qantas / Emirates flights to Australia (via Dubai). Evening arrival in Australia on Tuesday 26 June.

Or, extend your journey with our post-cruise tour to Vienna.

(B)

Per person, twin-share from

AUD 9,950

Per person, single from*

AUD 11,950

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 1,000

Tour prices

*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.

Tour code

AG1809

Final payment due

12 April 2018

Fitness level

Moderate
Please see terms & conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline

Qantas/Emirates
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current fares and specials.

Visas

Australian and New Zealand passport holders currently do not require visas for Germany and the Czech Republic.

Cruise prices include

  • 8 nights’ cruise on Elbe Princesse in your choice of cabin with all meals
  • 4 nights in Berlin and 2 nights in Prague in superior four-star accommodation with breakfast daily
  • Other meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Wines included with all meals
  • Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
  • A-reserve tickets for five opera and music performances in Berlin, Dresden and Prague
  • Pre-concert introductions and talks
  • Gratuities throughout
  • Hotel and ship porterage

Cruise prices do not include

  • Flights
  • Transfers in Berlin and Prague
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. lounge and bar drinks, mini-bar, telephone, laundry etc.)
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional performances in Berlin and Prague

Your hotels

Berlin – Westin Grand*****

Prague – InterContinental*****

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted

MS Elbe Princesse – Welcome on board!

Hamburg State Opera, Kunsthalle and Elbephilharmonie

08–11 June 2018 (4 days) with Christopher Lawrence

 

ITINERARY

Thursday 07 June 2018 / Depart Australia
Suggested departure from Australia and New Zealand on Emirates / Qantas flights (via Dubai). Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist with your travel arrangements.

Fri 08 Jun / Arrive Hamburg
Early afternoon arrival and check-in to your hotel housed in the historic Broscheks building in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Hamburg State Opera, Jungfernstieg, Alster Lakes and the Kunsthalle.

This evening, join Christopher for a talk on your two Hamburg performances, followed by a welcome dinner.  (D)

Sat 09 Jun / Hamburg
Begin your exploration of Hamburg with a morning tour of the ‘Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’, which refers to Hamburg’s history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, and as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. See the impressive Town Hall Square, drive around the Inner Alster Lake and along elegant Jungfernstieg, and pass the churches of St Peter, St Michael and St Nicholas. The morning finishes with a cruise of Hamburg’s bustling harbour, the second-largest port in Europe after Rotterdam, and the ninth largest in the world.

After lunch at a local restaurant, return to the hotel mid-afternoon.

This evening, attend the Hamburg State Opera performance of Verdi’s Otello. Directed by Spanish theatre director Calixto Bieito and conducted by Paolo Carignani, the performance stars Carlo Ventre (Otello), Franco Vassallo (Iago) Oleksiy Palchykov (Cassio), Jürgen Sacher (Rodrigo), Denis Velev (Lodovico), Aleksandra Kurzak (Desdemona) and Nadezhda Karyazina (Emilia).  (BL)

Sun 10 Jun / Hamburg
This morning, attend a concert by the Hamburg Philharmonic at the brand new (2017) Elbphilharmonie concert hall, located in the HafenCity (‘Harbour City’) quarter of Hamburg overlooking the Elbe River.

Conducted by Enoch zu Guttenberg the concert features Susanne Bernhard (soprano), Ingeborg Danz (alto), Werner Güra (tenor), Günther Groissböck (bass) and the KlangVerwaltung Choir performing J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 131 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (‘Choral’).

Following the concert, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, transfer to the Kunsthalle, Hamburg’s major fine arts museum. Highlights of the collection are medieval altars of Master Bertram and Master Francke, paintings by Dutch artists of the 17th century, masterpieces of German Romanticism, Impressionism and Modernism, as well as international contemporary art.  (BL)

Mon 11 Jun / Hamburg – Berlin
Late morning checkout and departure by coach from Hamburg to Berlin (approx. 3 hr including stop). Mid-afternoon arrival and check-in to the Westin Grand Hotel.
(B)

 

TOUR PRICES

Tour code: AG1809A
Per person, twin-share:  AUD 2,350
Single supplement*:  AUD 420

*Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Deposit per person (at time of booking): AUD 500

Final payment due: 12 April 2018

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see terms & conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline: Qantas/Emirates
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current fares and specials.

Your hotel: Renaissance Hotel Hamburg****+

Tour price includes:

  • Three nights’ accommodations in Hamburg with daily breakfast (B)
  • Other meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=dinner) including wines
  • Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
  • A-reserve tickets for the Hamburg State Opera and Hamburg Philharmonic concert
  • Pre-performance introductions and talks
  • Gratuities throughout
  • Transfer to Berlin

Tour price does not include:

  • Flights
  • Transfer on arrival in Hamburg
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. mini-bar, telephone, laundry etc.)
  • Travel insurance

Beauty and the Abyss: Modernism in Vienna

25–29 June 2018 (5 days) with Liz Gibson

Itinerary

Monday 25 June 2018 / Prague – Vienna
Morning departure from Prague for a leisurely day’s drive through Southern Bohemia to Vienna. Mid-afternoon arrival and check-in to your hotel.

This evening, join Liz for a talk on Viennese Modernism in architecture and the decorative arts, followed by dinner.  (D)

Tue 26 Jun / Vienna
Begin your exploration of Viennese Modernism with a morning visit to three architectural masterpieces designed by Otto Wagner (1841-1918).
Begin with a visit to his Steinhof Church, considered one of the most important Art Nouveau churches in the world. Continue to what is today known as the Ernst Fuchs Museum, but was originally the villa built 1886 to 1888 by Wagner for himself and his wife Louise. Finish with a visit to the Otto Wagner Hofpavillon Hietzing, the Imperial Court Pavilion at Hietzing station, part of Vienna’s metropolitan railway, and the biggest infrastructure engineering project in the city around 1900.

After lunch spend the afternoon at the Belvedere Palace, the beautiful Baroque architectural ensemble which houses a collection of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The heart of the Belvedere collection is formed by 24 paintings of Gustav Klimt including The Kiss and Judith. In 2018 the Belvedere Palace will host a special exhibition, giving pride of place to its extensive collection of oil paintings by Egon Schiele. Each piece is given additional context by sketches, related pieces, works by the artist’s contemporaries, archive material and photographs.

This evening, immerse yourself in the ground breaking music of the period with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (1899-1900) at the Konzerthaus, performed by Russian orchestra MusicAeterna conducted by Teodor Currentzis. Soprano TBA.  (BL)

Wed 27 Jun / Vienna
Following a talk on the artists of Viennese Modernism, continue your exploration of the art, architecture and decorative arts of Vienna Modernism. See Otto Wagner’s Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station and visit the Secession Building, an exhibition hall built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession. See the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt (1901) and visit the special exhibition ‘Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser and the Art of their Time’.

Continue to the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s famous food and produce market for lunch on your own.

Continue past the Majolica House by Otto Wagner to the Imperial Furniture Collection which will host the special exhibition ‘Wagner, Loos and Hoffmann Furniture Design in Viennese Modernism. Artists, Patrons and Producers’. This exhibition presents the work of the key architects of the Wiener Moderne – Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann – as interior designers and furniture designers and their differing approaches to the two disciplines.

Tonight, you may attend an optional performance at the Vienna State Opera of Verdi’s Falstaff. Not included in tour cost. Cat 1 tickets AUD 352 including bkg fee). Subject to availability and confirmation.  (B)

Thu 28 Jun / Vienna
Enjoy a drive around the Ringstrasse, on your way to one of Vienna’s most famous addresses, Bergasse 19, home of the Sigmund Freud Museum. For almost half a century, from 1891 to 1938, the founding father of psychoanalysis lived here until he was forced to emigrate to Britain after Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany.

Continue to the Leopold Museum, which boasts one of the world’s most important collections of Austrian art of the early 20th century, with works by Gustav Klimt (including his masterpiece Death and Life), Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, Richard Gerstl and Albin Egger-Lienz, not to mention the largest Egon Schiele collection in the world.

Afternoon at leisure to further explore the many other wonderful museums of Vienna including the nearby Fine Arts and Natural History Museums, the Albertina and the Vienna Museum which will host a special exhibition dedicated to Otto Wagner.

Tonight, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell dinner.  (BD)

Fri 29 Jun / Depart Vienna
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. If returning to Australia today, depart Vienna on Qantas / Emirates flights to Australia (via Dubai). Evening arrival in Australia on Saturday 30 June.  (B)

Tour prices

Tour code: AG1821

Per person, twin-share: AUD 2,950

Single supplement*: AUD 750
*Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Deposit per person (at time of booking): AUD 500

Final payment due: 26 April 2018

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see terms & conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline: Qantas/Emirates
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current fares and specials.

Hotel: Marriott Vienna****+

Tour price includes:

  • Transfer from Prague to Vienna
  • Four nights’ accommodation in Vienna with daily breakfast (B)
  • Other meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=dinner) including wines
  • Comprehensive sightseeing including entrance fees as per itinerary
  • A-reserve ticket for a performance at the Konzerthaus
  • Introductions and talks
  • Hotel porterage and gratuities

Tour price does not include:

  • Flights
  • Transfer on departure
  • Items of a personal nature (i.e. mini-bar, telephone, laundry etc.)
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional performance of Falstaff at Vienna State Opera