Romanian Rhapsody Tour #1
TWO DEPARTURE DATES:
Romanian Rhapsody Tour #1: 01–13 September 2017 (13 days) *with optional post-tour available
Romanian Rhapsody Tour #2: 13–25 September 2017 (13 days) *with optional pre-tour available
REDUCTION AVAILABLE if joining both Romanian Rhapsody Tours!! -500 AUD per person
One of the musical world’s best kept secrets, Romania’s George Enescu Festival is an extraordinary ‘who’s who’ of the world’s great orchestras, leading conductors and top-notch soloists.
Presented every two years in the balmy autumn month of September, the crème-de-la-crème of the world’s musical firmament gathers for three weeks for an encyclopaedic panorama of classical music in the glorious surrounds of Bucharest’s Romanian Athenaeum and Grand Palace Hall.
The 2017 festival features concerts and recitals by the London Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra of La Scala Milan, National Orchestra of France, Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw and, of course, the George Enescu Philharmonic and Choir. Conductors include the likes of Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazi, Riccardo Chailly, Michael Pletnev, Vladimir Jurowski, Jiri Belohlavek, Manfred Honeck, Valery Gergiev, Charles Dutoit, Daniele Gatti and Antonio Pappano. Soloists include Martha Argerich, Lang Lang, Magdalena Kozena, Christian Tetzlaff, Jonas Kaufmann, Vadim Repin, Nicolai Znaider, Maxim Vengerov, Daniel Trifonov and Leonidas Kavakos. Need we say more?!
For our usual two-week ‘music lovers’ tour’, it was impossible to select a single period with the ‘highlights’ of the festival; there are simply so many and there is nothing we would want you to miss. So we have decided to offer a choice of two 13-day tours, featuring an array of magnificent recitals, chamber music and grand symphonic concerts. And, for a truly unforgettable musical experience, you can even combine the two for an astonishing program of over 51 performances!
*Before or after this feast of music, extend your stay and discover Transylvania, the historical heartland of Romania. Explore a region of spectacular mountain scenery, well-preserved medieval towns and fortified cities, a rural landscape and lifestyle untouched for centuries.
Suggested departure from Australia on Qatar Airways (via Doha) or Qantas / Emirates (via Dubai).
Early afternoon arrival in Bucharest and transfer to the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel, perfectly located in the centre of the city a few minutes from the Romanian Athenaeum, Grand Palace Hall, the Old City and most major attractions. This evening, join Mairi and fellow music lovers for a welcome dinner.
Join Mairi for an introduction to the performances during the next few days.
After, join your local guide for an introduction to Bucharest, with a walking tour of Calea Victoria and the Old Town. Built in 1692 to link the Old Princely Court to Mogosoaia Palace, Calea Victoria was initially paved with oak beams. The street became Calea Victoriei in 1878 after the Romanian War of Independence victory. Between the two world wars, when Bucharest was dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, Calea Victoriei developed into one of the most fashionable streets in the city, flanked by some of Bucharest’s most important and beautiful buildings. The Old Town is a lively jumble of narrow streets lined with shops and restaurants, and a sprinkling of historic churches.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, return to the hotel mid-afternoon.
This evening, the 2017 George Enescu Festival opens with a concert performance (7.30 PM) of Enescu’s opera Oedipe by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir of the George Enescu Philharmonic (conductor Vladimir Jurowski) with Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the title role.
For full performance details, please refer to the programme of the 2017 George Enescu Festival available at http://festivalenescu.ro/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Programme-Enescu-Festival-2017.pdf or contact Renaissance Tours for a copy.
Today, enjoy three performances.
Begin with a morning recital (11 AM) by Romanian pianist Raluca Stirbăt.
This afternoon, you may wish to visit on your own the Romanian National Art Museum, founded in 1948 to house the former Royal Collection, which included Romanian and European art dating from the 15th to the 20th century.
Later, enjoy a recital (4.30 PM) by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (conductor and soloist Joshua Bell, violin) followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Vladimir Jurowski / soloist Christian Tetzlaff, violin)
This morning, join Mairi for a talk on this week’s performances, followed by lunch.
The rest of the day is at leisure. We suggest a visit on your own to the Art Collections Museum, a branch of the National Art Museum which houses private collections donated over the course of time. Collections include European as well as Oriental art works.
This afternoon, enjoy a recital (5 PM) by the London Philharmonic Players and later a concert (8 PM) by the Russian National Orchestra (conductor Michail Pletnev / soloist Nikolai Lugansky, piano).
Learn about life in Bucharest during the Communist Era through a visit to the Palace of the Parliament, Primaverii Palace (Ceausescu’s residence) and Casa Scanteii (‘Spark House’).
The Palace of the Parliament was built at the special request of Nicolae Ceausescu, leader of Romania’s Communist Party, and is the world’s second largest administrative building after the US Pentagon. Primaverii Palace is where Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu lived the last 25 years of their lives together with their children Nicu, Zoe, and Valentin. A replica of the famous ‘Lomonosov’ Moscow State University, Casa Scanteii was built for the purpose of bringing together under one roof all of Bucharest’s official press and publishing houses.
The afternoon is at leisure before a recital (5 PM) by Lang Lang (piano) and a concert (8 PM) by the Russian National Orchestra (conductor Horia Andresscu / soloist Vadim Repin, violin).
Journey out of Bucharest to Mogosoaia Palace and Snagov Monastery. Built by the Wallachian prince Constantin Brancoveanu between 1698 and 1702 as a summer residence, Mogosoaia Palace features a beautiful Venetian-style loggia on the facade and a balcony with intricate Brancovenesc-style carvings overlooking the main courtyard. Dating back to 1364, the monastery island on Lake Snagov is reputedly the burial site of Wallachian prince Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Return in time for a concert (5 PM) of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Jiří_Bělohlávek / soloist Nikolai Znaider, violin) and a concert (8 PM) featuring the Romanian National Youth Orchestra (conductor Domingo Hindoyan / soloist Sergio Tiemp, piano).
This morning enjoy a visit to the Cotroceni Palace. A former royal residence built between 1679 and 1681 by Prince and ruler Serban Cantacuzino, the palace was home to King Carol I (ruled 1866 to 1914). In 1977, Nicolae Ceausescu transformed it into an official guesthouse with the addition of a new wing. After 1990, the old wing of the palace became a museum whilst the new wing serves as the seat of the Romanian Presidency.
The afternoon is at leisure before a concert (4.30 PM) of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Jiří_Bělohlávek / soloist Valentin Răduţiu, cello) followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (conductor Manfred Honeck / soloist Mathias Goerne, baritone).
Join Mairi for a morning talk on this weekend’s performances, followed by lunch.
The afternoon is at leisure before a recital (4.30 PM) by the Arpeggiata ensemble followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (conductor Manfred Honeck / soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin).
This morning enjoy a recital (11 AM) by Arc Ensemble.
The afternoon is at leisure before a concert (4.30 PM) of the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne (conductor Joshua Weilerstein / soloists Mihai Ritivoiu, piano and Tine Thing Helseth, trumpet), followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Valery Gergiev /soloist Daniil Trifonov, piano).
This morning, enjoy a recital (11 AM) by Diotima Quartet.
This afternoon is at leisure. We suggest a visit on your own to the Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Opened in 1906, the museum features the richest folk art collection in Romania, with over 90,000 artefacts that trace the colourful and diverse cultural life of the Romanian people.
This afternoon attend a recital (4.30 PM) by the Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne (conductor Joshua Weilerstein / soloist Boris Brovtsyn, violin), followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Valery Gergiev /soloist Andrei Ioniţă, cello).
Discover Romania’s rich religious heritage during a morning tour themed ‘Orthodox and Jewish Bucharest’. Visit the Museum of the History of the Romanian Jewish Community, Patriarchy Hill and the Metropolitan Church.
In the afternoon, attend a recital (5 PM) by Gautier Capuçon (cello) and Frank Bailey (piano), followed by a concert (8 PM) of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Charles Dutoit /soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin).
Following a morning at leisure, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell lunch, followed by a recital (5 PM) by Leonidas Kavakos (violin) and Kiril Gerstein (piano) and a concert (8 PM) of the Royal Philharmonic London (conductor Valery Gergiev /soloist Martha Argerich, piano).
Transfer to Bucharest Airport for suggested departure on Qatar Airways flights (via Doha) or Fly Dubai / Emirates (via Dubai). Arrival in Australia on the evening of Thursday 14 September.
Or, extend your stay in Romania with our ‘Treasures of Transylvania’ post-tour.
View and download PDF link here:
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Reduction if also joining Romanian Rhapsody #2
– AUD 500
Final payment due
30 June 2017
Please see terms & conditions for fitness level definitions.
Tour prices includes
- Transfers on arrival and departure if travelling on suggested flights
- 12 nights’ accommodation at the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=dinner). Wines with meals.
- Category 1 tickets for 24 recitals and concerts
- Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary, including entrance fees and transportation
- Three morning performance introductions with Mairi Nicolson
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage
Tour price does not include
- International flights
- Transfers on arrival and departure if not travelling on suggested flights
- Items of a personal nature (i.e. mini-bar, telephone, laundry etc.)
- Airport porterage
- Travel insurance
Bucharest – Athenee Palace Hilton****+
TREASURES OF TRANSYLVANIA POST-TOUR #1
13–18 September 2017 (6 days) / Locally guided
Wed 13 Sep / Bucharest – Sibiu
Morning departure from Bucharest for Sibiu. En route, stop for a visit to Cozia Monastery built 1386-1388 by Mircea the Elder, the grandfather of Vlad the Impaler. Late afternoon arrival in Sibiu and dinner at your hotel.
Thu 14 Sep / Sibiu
The day is dedicated to visiting Sibiu, a charming, well preserved Transylvanian citadel and the ‘European Cultural Capital’ in 2007. Begin with a walking tour of the medieval centre featuring ‘The Large’ and ‘The Small’ public squares, Council Tower and Liars’ Bridge. Visit the European and Romanian art galleries of the Brukenthal National Museum and the Evangelic Cathedral.
After time for lunch, on your own visit the Astra Museum of Traditional Folk Civilisation. This open-air ethnographic museum houses an array of traditional dwellings, mills and churches brought from around the country.
Fri 15 Sep / Sibiu – Brasov (Aro Palace)
Depart for Brasov, driving along the Ridge of Fagaras Mountains. Stop in Fagaras for a view of the impressive 14th century citadel used by Romanian, Austrian and Hungarian princes as a defence against the Ottomans. Continue to Bran for lunch and a visit to the castle, better known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’ for its gloomy appearance. Continue to Brasov for a stay of three nights. Tonight, you will be treated to a private organ concert inside the Black Church.
Sat 16 Sep / Brasov – Sighisoara – Brasov
Depart Brasov for a full-day tour to Sighisoara. On the way, stop in the village of Viscri with its fortified church and have a look at a beautifully restored original Saxon house – now the property of HRH Prince Charles.
Founded by German craftsmen and merchants, Sighisoara is a fine example of a small, fortified medieval town. Inside the citadel, known as the upper town, visit the 14th century Clock Tower which houses the history and pharmacy museums and is also the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler – Dracula, ruler of Wallachia from 1456 to 1462. Return to Brasov after lunch within the citadel walls.
Sun 17 Sep / Brasov and Sinaia
Enjoy a morning walking tour of Brasov including the fortification walls and the Old Town Hall Square with its colourful Baroque-style buildings. Visit the imposing Black Church, Romania’s largest Gothic church, and see the first Romanian school located on the grounds of the 14th century church of St Nicholas.
Later, drive to the mountain resort of Sinaia, for a visit to the imposing neo-Renaissance Peles Castle, built by King Carol I as the summer residence of the royal family. Conclude with a visit to the George Enescu Memorial House, the former summer residence of the composer. Return to Brasov for dinner and overnight.
Mon 18 Sep / Brasov – Bucharest Airport
After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Bucharest Airport, in time for departure on Qatar Airways at 12.30 PM (via Doha) or Fly Dubai at 2.30 PM (via Dubai) or other later flights. Arrival in Australia on the evening of Tuesday 19 September.