Celebrate fine music and opera in the historic concert halls and opera houses of Berlin, Munich, Dresden and Leipzig during the colourful Christmas season.

At a Glance

  • Enjoy among the best seats in the house for opera and orchestral performances in Berlin, Munich, Dresden and Leipzig
  • Attend performances by some of Europe’s most renowned symphony orchestras and opera companies, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian State Opera, Staatskapelle Dresden and Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra
  • Enrich your musical appreciation with pre-performance talks by your tour leader, Berlin-based music and opera expert Scott Curry
  • Delight in the festive season with Germany’s famed Christmas markets

In Munich, attend a concert by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and enjoy the Bavarian State Opera’s productions of Verdi’s Macbeth and Aida.

Then, travel north through Bavaria to Saxony for performances by Dresden’s Staatskapelle and the Semperoper’s production of Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges in the magnificent 19th century opera house.

In Leipzig, ‘the city of music’, see Andris Nelsons conduct the renowned Gewandhaus Orchestra and enjoy Leipzig Opera’s production of Norma.

Arriving in Berlin in the lead-up to Christmas, hear the Berlin Philharmonic led by legend Herbert Blomstedt, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin with Vladimir Jurovsky and a performance by the Berlin State Opera.

Dates

12 – 27 December 2024 (16 days)

Tour leader

Scott Curry

Tour Status

Available

Book now

Itinerary

Arrive in Munich on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including travel insurance (a condition of travel), private hotel transfer, accommodation before or after the tour and a room category upgrade.

In the late-afternoon, join your tour leader Scott Curry and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing followed by dinner.

(D)

In the morning, discover the stunning Lenbachhaus art gallery, home to the world’s largest collection of art by the Blue Rider movement, including pieces by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Gabriele Münter and Franz Marc – amongst others.

After lunch, the afternoon is at leisure until this evening at the Isarphilharmonie concert hall. Dima Slobodeniouk conducts the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra with Finnish pianist Olli Mustonen in a Nordic-inspired program of wintry landscapes.

PROGRAM:
Einojuhani Rautavaara
– Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3, Gift of Dreams
Esa-Pekka SalonenInsomnia for Orchestra
Peter I. Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13, Rêverie d’hiver (‘Winter Dreams’)

(BL)

After a talk by Scott on the coming days’ performances, the remainder of the morning is free to browse the Bavarian capital’s traditional Christmas markets.

In the afternoon, enjoy a private, guided tour of the magnificent Rococo Cuvilliés Theatre – the court theatre of the Residenz, the former seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918.

Tonight, enjoy the Bavarian State Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth conducted by rising talent Andrea Battistoni, with Canadian baritone Gerald Finley in the title role at the National Theatre.

(B)

This morning, learn about Munich’s national socialist past with a visit to the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, opened in 2015 on the site of the former headquarters of the NSDAP.

Return to the National Theatre this evening for the Bavarian State Opera’s production of Verdi’s Aida featuring conductor Francesco Ivan Ciampa, Russian soprano Elena Stikhina as Aida, mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča as Amneris and tenor Arsen Soghomonyan as Radamès.

(B)

Depart Munich and travel to Dresden, capital of Saxony, and famed for its 700-year musical history. The River Elbe divides the city into the Altstadt and the Neustadt with restored Baroque architecture stencilling an ornate skyline.

This evening, attend a Christmas organ performance featuring works by Bach in the beautiful Frauenkirche. The church was rebuilt after the war-time destruction of Dresden and the characteristic stone-bell dome now stands out of the city’s skyline as an international symbol of reconciliation.

(BD)

Begin the day with a pre-performance talk by Scott. Then, enjoy a guided tour of the Old Masters Picture Gallery, a treasure trove of European art housed in the Semper wing of the Zwinger Palace. This prestigious gallery is renowned for its significant holdings of Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, including Raphael’s iconic Sistine Madonna and works by Titian and Correggio.

In the afternoon, enjoy the festive spirit at the Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas market, with the central square ablaze with lights and the air filled with the scent of cinnamon apples. The Pyramidenfest, a giant advent pyramid from the Ore Mountains, towers over the array of food and handicraft stalls.

Tonight, at the Semperoper, see Philippe Herreweghe conduct the famous Staatskapelle Dresden with cellist Friedrich Thiele.

PROGRAM:
Haydn
– Symphony No. 86 in D major
Haydn – Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major
Mozart – Symphony No. 38 in D major, Prague

(BL)

The morning is at leisure to further explore Dresden at your own pace. You might want to visit the historic Green Vault, which boasts one of the world’s largest collections of royal treasures, objects d’art and cabinets of curiosity.

In the afternoon, return to the Semperoper for a performance of Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges conducted by Erik Nielsen and staged by Evgeny Titov, who has enjoyed success in both opera and theatre at the world’s foremost venues.

(BD)

Depart Dresden and travel to Leipzig, ‘the city of music’. The city’s prestigious musical history tells stories of composers including Bach, Telemann, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner and Mahler. The Music Trail that winds across the city maintains a modern-day connection to the legacy the composers, visionaries and musicians have given to the progressive city.

In the evening, attend a performance by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of acclaimed conductor Andris Nelsons with the MDR broadcast choir and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor.

PROGRAM:
Thomas Adès
America (A Prophecy), Op. 19
Extended version (premiere, commissioned by the Gewandhausorchester, the Cleveland Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra Manchester)
Gustav Holst
The Planets – Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 32

(BLD)

This morning, join Scott for a pre-performance talk in the Alte Nikolaischule, where Wagner went to school. Then, visit the former house of Felix Mendelssohn. Unlike his contemporaries, Mendelssohn not only composed, but was also an esteemed conductor and pianist.

Tonight, attend a new production of Bellini’s Norma by Leipzig Opera led by emerging Italian conductor Daniele Squeo with Roberta Mantegna in the title role.

(BL)

In the morning, travel north to Berlin. As Germany’s capital prepares for Christmas, embrace the final days of Advent at the city’s famed Christmas markets.

This evening, see distinguished and beloved conductor Herbert Blomstedt lead the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with acclaimed pianist Leif Ove Andsnes at the Berliner Philharmonie. The 97-year-old conductor, recognised worldwide as an authority on Anton Bruckner’s music, addresses the composer’s last symphony, in which Bruckner bids a very personal farewell to the world.

PROGRAM:
Mozart
– Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D minor
Bruckner
– Symphony No. 9 in D minor

(BL)

This morning, walk to the Konzerthaus, located on Gendarmenmarkt, and attend a chamber music concert featuring members of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin including Daniel Werner (flute), Luisa Rönnebeck (violin), Nilay Özdemir (viola), Alexander Kahl (cello) and Igor Prokopets (double bass).

PROGRAM:
Vanhal
– Divertimento in G major
Piazzolla – Five Tangos for Violin and Double Bass
Händel – Passacaglia from Suite No. 7 in G minor, arranged by Halvorsen
Rossini – Duet for Cello and Double Bass in D major
Bartók – Romanian Folk Dances, arranged for Violin and Viola
Sperger – Quartet in D major for Flute, Viola, Cello and Double Bass

In the afternoon, attend a performance of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen by the Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Marko Letonja.

Then enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

(BD)

Begin the day with a pre-performance talk by Scott. Afterwards, enjoy a private, guided tour of the Berlin State Opera Under den Linden (subject to rehearsal schedule). The iconic opera house, originally commissioned by Frederick the Great and inaugurated in 1742, re-opened in 2018 after a mammoth 12-year renovation.

Following an afternoon at leisure, return to the Berliner Philharmonie for a concert by the prestigious Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin led by highly-regarded conductor Vladimir Jurovsky.

PROGRAM:
Bach
– Christmas Oratorio (Cantatas 1-6)

(BL)

You might wish to join Scott for an optional morning excursion to West Berlin, seeing the district’s renowned monuments and wide boulevards or visiting the famous food hall at the KaDeWe department store. Spend the rest of the day at leisure to relax or explore Berlin at your own pace.

In the evening, embrace a true German-style Christmas Eve as you join Scott and fellow travellers for a special Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner there is the possibility to attend Christmas mass at the Cathedral.

(BD)

Depart on a full-day excursion to Potsdam, best known for the magnificent palaces and parks dating back to its time as the former royal seat of Prussia. Discover the retrospective exhibition devoted to French avant-garde artist Maurice de Vlaminck at the city’s fine Museum Barberini. The exhibition provides a broad overview of Vlaminck’s entire oeuvre – from his first compositions, through his experiments with Cubism inspired by Cézanne and Picasso, to his last landscape paintings, in which he developed a highly individual variety of Late Impressionism.

After lunch in Potsdam, drive past the beautiful Sanssouci Palace, built by Prussian King Frederick the Great as his summer palace, before returning to Berlin.

(BL)

In the morning, visit the prominent Alte Nationalgalerie on Museum Island, dedicated to 19th-century European art including works by Pissarro, Cézanne, Delacroix, Degas and Van Gogh, as well as a large collection of the works of German artists Adolph von Menzel and Caspar David Friedrich. Explore the ‘Monet and the Impressionist Cityscape’ special exhibition.

Then, enjoy a special farewell lunch at a local restaurant.

The remainder of the afternoon is free until tonight’s final performance of the tour at one of Berlin’s iconic venues (performance to be announced).

(BL)

Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

If you are returning home today, make your way to Berlin Airport for suggested flights to Australia or New Zealand. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).

(B)

Prices

Per person, twin-share

AUD 15,950

Single supplement

AUD 2,500

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 5,000

Final payment due

13 September 2024

Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally-located 4-star superior and 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), including wines with meals
  • Premium category (or best available) tickets to all included performances
  • Lectures and talks by your tour leader, music and opera specialist Scott Curry
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
  • Airport porterage
  • Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
  • Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)

Hotel

Your hotels
Munich – Hotel Bayerischer Hof*****
Dresden – Townhouse Dresden****+
Leipzig – Steigenberger Icon Grandhotel Handelshof*****
Berlin – Westin Grand Berlin****+

N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.

More Details

Tour code: ML2406

Fitness level: Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.

Suggested airline: Qatar Airways
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.

Visa
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Germany.

Download booking form here.

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