Romanian Rhapsody Tour #2
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.
Your Enescu Festival experience begins with a recital (5 PM) by Renaud Capuçon (violin) and Jerome Ducros (piano) followed by a welcome dinner with Mairi Nicolson and fellow music lovers.
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.
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, enjoy concerts (4.30 PM and 7.30 PM) with the Philharmonia Orchestra (conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy /soloist Michael Barenboim, violin) and the Orchestra of La Scala Milan (conductor Riccardo Chailly / soloist David Garrett, violin).
This morning, join Mairi for a talk on this weekend’s performances, followed by lunch.
Tonight, enjoy two more concerts (4.30 PM and 7.30 PM) by the Philharmonia Orchestra (conductor Cristian Mandeal / soloist Boris Berezovski, piano) and the Orchestra of La Scala Milan (conductor Riccardo Chailly / soloist Julian Rachlin, violin).
Today, enjoy three performances.
Begin with a morning recital (11 AM) by the London Chamber Orchestra (conductor and soloist Jörg Widmann, clarinet).
After, 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.
Later, enjoy a recital (4.30 PM) by Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) and Alexandre Tharaud (piano) followed by a concert (7.30 PM) by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Zubin Mehta /soloist Khatia Buniatishvilli, piano).
Today’s performances begin with a recital (11 AM) by Nicholas Dautricourt (violin), Garry Hoffman (cello) and Nelson Goerner (piano).
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, attend a recital (4.30 PM) by Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) and Helmuth Deutsch (piano) followed by a concert (7.30 PM) of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Zubin Mehta / soloist Leonidas Kavakos, violin).
Join Mairi for a morning talk on this week’s performances.
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.
Return in time for a recital (5 PM) by Anushka Shankar and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra (conductor and violin Willi Zimmermann), followed by a concert (8 PM) of the National Orchestra of France (conductor Christoph Eschenbach / soloist Thomas Hamspon, baritone).
During a morning tour 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 concert (5 PM) of Les Siecles Ensemble (conductor François-Xavier Roth / soloist Simone Lamsma, violin) and the Royal Choir followed by a concert (8 PM) of the National Orchestra of France (conductor Christoph Eschenbach / soloist Truls Mørk, cello).
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) by Les Dissonances (soloist David Grimal, violin) followed by a concert (8 PM) of the Orchestra and Choir of the George Enescu Philharmonic (conductor John Nelson).
This morning, discover Romania’s rich religious heritage during a tour themed ‘Orthodox and Jewish Bucharest’. Visit the Museum of the History of the Romanian Jewish Community, Patriarchy Hill and the Metropolitan Church.
The afternoon is at leisure before a recital (4.30 PM) by Alexei Volodin (piano) and a concert (7.30 PM) of the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (conductor Antonio Pappano / Soloist Beatrice Rana, piano).
Join Mairi for a morning talk on this weekend’s performances, followed by lunch.
Enjoy a recital (4.30 PM) by Dimitry Hvorostovsky (baritone) and Ivari Ilja (piano) followed by a concert (7.30 PM) by the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (conductor Antonio Pappano / soloists Rachel Willis-Sorenson, soprano, and Okka van der Damerau, mezzo-soprano).
Following a recital (11 AM) by the Schubert Ensemble, the afternoon 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
In the afternoon, enjoy a concert (4.30 PM) by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (conductor Jonathan Stockhammer / soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin) and a concert (7.30 PM) by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (conductor Daniele Gatti / soloist Chen Reiss, soprano).
Following a recital (11 AM) by Members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (conductor and soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin, and Polina Leschenko, piano) celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell lunch, followed by a recital (4.30 PM) by Maxim Vengerov (violin) and Vag Papian (piano) and a concert (7.30 PM) by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (conductor Daniele Gatti / soloist Liviu Prunaru, violin).
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 Tuesday 26 September.
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 27 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 PRE-TOUR #2
07–13 September 2017 (7 days)
Wed 06 Sep / Depart Australia
Suggested departure from Australia on Qatar Airways (via Doha) or Qantas/Emirates (via Dubai).
Thu 07 Sep / Arrive Bucharest
Early afternoon arrival in Bucharest and transfer to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Fri 08 Sep / Bucharest – Brasov
After meeting your local guide, depart Bucharest for Brasov (3 hrs drive) with lunch en route. Mid-afternoon arrival, check-in and refresh before dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Sat 09 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 first Romanian school located on the grounds of the 14th century church of St Nicholas.
After a break for lunch on your own, 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 a visit to the imposing Black Church, Romania’s largest Gothic church, followed by a private organ concert. Dinner and overnight.
Sun 10 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. After lunch within the citadel walls return to Brasov.
Mon 11 Sep / Brasov – Sibiu
Start the day with a visit to Bran Castle, better known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’ for its gloomy appearance. After lunch depart for Sibiu 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 Sibiu for a stay of two nights.
Tue 12 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 mediaeval 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.
Wed 13 Sep / Sibiu – Bucharest
After breakfast, check-out and transfer to Bucharest. En route stop at Cozia Monastery built 1386-1388 by Mircea the Elder, the grandfather of Vlad the Impaler (known as Dracula). Late afternoon arrival in Bucharest in time for a welcome dinner with Mairi Nicolson and fellow-tour members joining the ‘Romanian Rhapsody’ Tour # 2.