Easter at the Berlin State Opera
Berlin’s annual Easter opera and music festival (‘Festtage’) will be returning to its traditional location at Unter den Linden following the much-anticipated reopening of the Berlin State Opera House after a lavish seven-year renovation.
Organised by the legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim, the 2018 festival highlights include the extraordinary musical theatre works – Verdi’s Falstaff and Wagner’s Parsifal – performed in the fully-renovated opera house.
The 2018 festival will feature singers such as Nina Stemme, Maria Agresta, Nadine Sierra, Anna Prohaska, Marianne Crebassa, Andreas Schager and René Pape, not to mention the Staatskapelle Berlin, pianist Martha Argerich, and Daniel Barenboim himself.
To complement the festival, attend a rare performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera, Heliane’s Miracle, at the Deutsche Oper, a music theatre production by Robert Wilson Adam’s Passion, as well as a chamber music concert in Berlin’s stunning Konzerthaus.
If departing Australia or New Zealand for Berlin today, suggested flights with Emirates via Dubai. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.
Arrive in Berlin and check in to your hotel. In the late afternoon, join Scott and your fellow tour members for a welcome briefing and pre-performance talk. After an early dinner, walk to the Konzerthaus for a concert featuring violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Christian Poltéra (cello).
Arnold Schönberg – String Trio op. 45
Johann Sebastian Bach – Goldberg-Variations BWV 988 arranged by Dmitry Sitkovetsky
Depart on a full-day tour to Potsdam, located about 40 kilometres from Berlin. Potsdam is best known for the magnificent palaces and parks dating back to its time as the former royal seat of Prussia, and offers a fascinating panorama of German culture and history.
Begin with a drive through Sanssouci Park followed by a visit to the New Palace, situated on the western side of the park. Begun in 1763 after the end of the Seven Years’ War, it is considered to be the last great Prussian baroque palace. It was recently reopened after an extensive renovation and the building’s highlights are once again accessible, including the shimmering Grottensaal (Grotto Hall) and the magnificent Marmorsaal (Marble Hall). After lunch, drive through the Russian Colony, see the Dutch Quarter and finish with a visit to St Nicholas’ Church.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
This evening enjoy a performance of Adam’s Passion in the Konzerthaus. This is a new production by Robert Wilson based on Arvo Pärt’s works for choir and orchestra Adam’s Lament and Miserere, and his double concerto for two violins Tabula Rasa and orchestral work Sequentia.
Following a guided visit to the Neues Museum, enjoy an afternoon at leisure on Museum Island to further explore Berlin’s impressive museums and galleries with your three-day Berlin Museum Pass.
In the evening, transfer by coach to the Philharmonie Concert Hall for a performance by the Staatskapelle Berlin.
Conductor: Daniel Barenboim
Piano: Martha Argerich
Soprano: Anna Prohaska
Mezzosoprano: Marianne Crebassa
Alto: Anna Lapkovskaja
Debussy – Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra
Debussy – Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien
After breakfast, join Scott for a pre-performance talk. The remainder of the morning is at leisure to enjoy the sights of Berlin.
In the late afternoon transfer by coach to the Deutsche Oper for this evening’s performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Das Wunder der Heliane (‘Heliane’s Miracle’). First performed in 1927 at the Hamburg State Opera, and originally entitled Das dunkle Reich (The Dark Kingdom), it is based on an unpublished mystery play, Die Heilige (‘The Saint’), by the writer Hans Kaltneker. This new production is conducted by Marc Albrecht. American soprano Sara Jakubiak sings the role of Heliane, while Austrian baritone Josef Wagner sings the role of Heliane’s husband, the ruler.
After a half-morning canal cruise on Berlin’s Spree river, enjoy the rest of the morning at leisure. In the mid-afternoon, transfer by coach to the Philharmonie Berlin Concert Hall for a Piano Duo-Recital by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim.
Richard Wagner – Overture to The Flying Dutchmen (transcription for two pianos by Claude Debussy)
Claude Debussy – Six épigraphes antiques | En blanc et noir | Lindaraja | Prélude a l’apres-midi d’un faune | La mer
After the performance, enjoy dinner in a restaurant nearby before returning to the hotel.
After breakfast, join Scott for a pre-performance talk. The rest of the morning is at leisure.
In the mid-afternoon walk to the Berlin State Opera at Unter den Linden for this afternoon’s performance of Falstaff. An opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, the libretto was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV. This production is conducted by Daniel Barenboim and the set designer is Mario Martone. The role of Falstaff is sung by Michael Volle, while Simone Piazzola sings the role of Ford, and Maria Agresta the role of Mrs Alice Ford.
After the performance, enjoy dinner (venue TBA).
This morning is at leisure to enjoy Berlin as you wish. In the mid-afternoon, walk to the Berlin State Opera for this afternoon’s performance of Parsifal. Conducted by Daniel Barenboim, the role of Parsifal is sung by Andreas Schager, Nina Stemme sings Kundry and Lauri Vasar the role of Amfortas.
After the performance, return to the hotel for a farewell supper and drinks in the hotel.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. If returning home today, suggested flights with Emirates via Dubai. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
25 January 2018
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa for Germany.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in deluxe centrally located hotel with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner, S=Supper). Wines with meals
- Category 1 tickets to seven performances included in itinerary
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Berlin Museum Pass, giving access to around 30 museums and galleries
- Transportation throughout in comfortable air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International flights
- Transfers on arrival and departure
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, room service, etc.
- Travel insurance (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
The Regent Berlin *****
The Regent Berlin offers an unrivalled stay in the heart of Berlin, just steps from some of the major museums, well-known sights and great restaurants around Gendarmenmarket Square. It is within walking distance of the Berlin State Opera at Unter den Linden, as well as the Konzerthaus and Museum Island. The hotel’s 156 guest rooms and 39 suites offer the ultimate in comfort, classic sophistication and attention to detail. With the average room size of around 40m², the marble clad bathrooms include separate walk-in showers, deep bath tubs, thick, fluffy towels and bathrobes and a selection of fine toiletries.
NB. Hotel of a similar standard may be substituted
THE BERLIN STAATSOPER 2018 FESTTAGE
Founded by Daniel Barenboim in 1996 as an annual event, the operatic centrepieces of the 2018 festival – Wagner’s Parsifal and Verdi’s Falstaff – will be accompanied by concerts in the Philharmonie, which – as the second venue for the Festtage – has been attracting theatregoers from around the world. Mahler and Debussy, born about half a century after Wagner and Verdi, are two composers who will feature prominently in the 2018 program. An array of outstanding artists including Martha Argerich, Nina Stemme and Andreas Schager will give the 2018 Festtage an especially impressive air, while the Staatsoper Choir, the Staatskapelle Berlin and of course Daniel Barenboim himself will come together to create a fitting program to do justice to the festival’s long-awaited return to the newly-refurbished Berlin State Opera house at Unter den Linden.
The 2018 Festtage will present two major 19th century works from the late periods of Wagner and Verdi: the festival drama Parsifal, premiered in 1882 to consecrate the stage at Wagner’s Bayreuth theatre, and Verdi’s musical comedy Falstaff, premiered in 1893 in Milan’s La Scala. This program showcases two very different designs of musical theatre, both in terms of language, musical-dramatic aesthetic and soundscape. The quasi-sacred majesty of Parsifal, a production first staged at the Festtage in 2015 by Dmitri Tcherniakov, is contrasted with the virtuosic playing and ingenious wit of Falstaff, a brand new production by Italian film and theatre director Mario Martone.