European Winter Music Festivals
Embark on a music sensation with Marshall McGuire to delight in two major festivals of the European winter music calendar, with a slant towards the Baroque and Classical periods.
Spend six nights in Malta for the annual Valletta International Baroque Festival, for a music extravaganza featuring a line-up of leading international artists.
Then, head north to another city famous for its Baroque architecture – Salzburg – for the annual Mozart Week featuring some of the finest orchestral and chamber ensembles performing the repertoire of both the Baroque and Classical music periods.
In between these two festivals, enjoy three nights of opera and music in imperial Vienna, attending performances at the Musikverein, Vienna State Opera and Volksoper.
Depart Australia or New Zealand in the afternoon on suggested Qatar Airways flights to Valletta via Doha. Please note that if arriving on the early morning flight with Qatar Airways, an additional night’s accommodation will be required. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.
Arrive in Valletta in the early morning on suggested flights. Make your way to the hotel. (See note above)
In the early evening, join your tour leader Marshall McGuire and fellow music lovers for a welcome briefing, and then enjoy a special welcome dinner.
Valletta International Baroque Festival
Founded in 2013, the Valletta International Baroque Festival has risen to international musical attention with its focus on Baroque music, the era in which the city of Valletta was built and rose to be a strongpoint of culture, economy and global politics. Over two weeks, performances take place twice daily in historic venues throughout Valletta, including the Teatru Manoel, one of the oldest working theatres in Europe, intimate churches, the Grandmaster’s Palace, the historic auberges and other Baroque buildings for which Valletta is renowned.
In the morning, explore Valletta with a walking tour of the city. Visit the Upper Barrakka Gardens for a panoramic view across the Grand Harbour, the only natural harbour in the Mediterranean. The Three Cities of Birgu, Senglea and Cospicua set a Baroque backdrop to the terraced gardens that were originally built as an exercise ground for the Knights of the Langue of Italy. Then, enjoy a guided visit of the oratory of the St John’s Co-Cathedral to admire the structure as an epitome of Baroque design and the only remaining signed Caravaggio painting, The Beheading of St John the Baptist.
This afternoon attend the first performance at the Valletta International Baroque Festival with tenor Nicholas Mulroy and Elizabeth Kenny performing a range of 17th century songs for theorbo and singer.
In the evening attend a performance by the Valletta Baroque Ensemble of Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s Requiem along with some of the composer’s other finest instrumental and vocal music.
In the morning join Marshall for a pre-performance talk before travelling to Malta’s oldest city, Vittoriosa, to attend a performance by the MOA Trio comprising master clarinettist Dimitri Ashkenazy, violinist Deborah Marchetti and pianist Jacqueline Ott.
After lunch, enjoy a walking tour of the city which was the first base for the Order of Saint John, before returning to Valletta for an evening performance by Spanish vocal and instrumental ensemble La Grande Chapelle. The group, known for their music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, will perform works by Pedro Ruimonte composed between 1601 and 1614 when he was master of Chamber Music at the Brussels court of the Archduke Albert. Enjoy meeting the artists after the concert at an intimate reception.
Enjoy a pre-performance talk by Marshall before attending an afternoon performance by Baroque duo Jean Rondeau and Thomas Dunford. The duo will perform a series of works of composers from the court of Versailles for lute and harpsichord.
After dinner, attend a performance by French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau accompanied by the Ensemble Dynastie performing concertos by JS Bach and his sons Wilhelm Friedemann and Johann Christian. After the concert, meet the artists at an intimate reception.
Today, travel to the city of Rabat, known for its charming rural character, to enjoy a performance by Voces Suaves, a Basel-based Baroque ensemble, performing Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. After lunch enjoy time at leisure in nearby Mdina, Malta’s capital from antiquity to the Medieval period.
Return to Valletta in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening performance by countertenor Raffaele Pé and his ensemble La Lira di Orfeo performing Scarlatti’s Giulio CesareII.
Enjoy the day at leisure in Valletta before joining Marshall for a pre-performance talk. Then attend the final evening’s performance of the festival with a performance by singers Amici Veneziani and Simone Kermes performing bel canto arias composed during the golden era of Naples by composers including Vivaldi, Pergolesi and Porpora.
Transfer to Malta Airport for an early-morning flight to Vienna. (NB: Economy class checked baggage allowance of 1 bag up to 23kg applies.)
Arrive at the hotel and enjoy lunch before enjoying the afternoon at leisure.
This evening, join Marshall for a pre-performance talk followed by a performance of La Traviata at the Volksoper, staged and directed by Hans Gratzer.
Join Marshall for a morning talk on the performances to be attended in Vienna. Then visit the Liechtenstein City Palace, the first major building in Vienna of the High Baroque. The palace has undergone a five-year renovation and now displays exquisitely restored Baroque stucco ceilings, opulent neo-Rococo interiors and part of the private art collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant followed by the afternoon at leisure.
In the evening, attend a performance in the Brahms Hall at the Musikverein, renowned for its impeccable acoustics.
Carl Maria von Weber – Clarinet Quintet in B flat major, op. 3
Howard Ferguson – Octet
Jean Françaix – Octuor for clarinet, horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, violoncello and double bass
Begin the day with a guided tour of the grand Viennese apartment that Mozart and his family lived in during the time he wrote The Marriage of Figero. Explore the influential role Mozart held in Viennese society.
Enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Tonight, attend a performance of Otello at the Vienna State Opera, conducted by Mikko Franck. Stephen Gould plays the title role accompanied by Krassimira Stoyanova as Desdemona and Carlos Alvarez as Jago.
Today depart Vienna to Salzburg. En route, enjoy lunch in the town of Gmunden. Experience a taste of a European winter in the countryside surrounded by snow-capped mountains and churches perched upon lake-side promenades.
Upon arrival in Salzburg, check in to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
This evening, attend a performance by the Vienna Philharmonic with internationally acclaimed Lahav Shani conducting and performing as pianist. The Vienna Philharmonic is considered one of the best original Mozart orchestras of all time.
Mozart – Concerto in C major for flute, harp and orchestra K. 299
Mozart – Concerto in B flat major for piano and orchestra K. 595
Mozart – Symphony in G minor K. 550
Join Marshall in the morning for a talk on today’s performances.
Then, attend a performance of chamber music at the Mozarteum. Soloists include Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet), Thomas Riebl (viola) and Radek Baborák (horn), accompanied by the Takács Quartet.
Salzburg’s renowned winter classical music festival was first held in 1956 and has since become a highlight on the international concert calendar for Mozart lovers and classical music fans. Organised by the International Mozarteum Foundation each January around Mozart’s birthday (27 January), the Mozart Week features opera productions as well as orchestral, chamber music and soloist concerts. The 2020 festival will explore the music which Mozart composed for wind and brass, highlighting the stories of the composer’s musical friends. This program features soloists including clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout and horn player Radek Borak, plus Andrea Marcon, Lahav Shani and Daniel Barenboim as featured conductors.
Mozart – Quartet in B flat major for two violins, viola and cello K. 589
Mozart – Quintet in E flat major for horn, violin, two violas and bass K. 407
Mozart – Quartet in D major for two violins, viola and cello K. 575
Mozart – Quintet in A major for clarinet, two violins, viola and cello K. 581 Stadler-Quintett
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided visit to the DomQuartier museum complex. This museum epitomises Salzburg’s glorious Baroque centre including the cathedral arches, residences, Cathedral Square and the Long Gallery.
Enjoy dinner before the evening performance by the La Cetra Barockorchester and the Vokalensemble Basel choir, conducted by Andrea Marcon and performed by Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Margriet Buchberger (soprano), Jakob Pilgram (tenor) and José Antonio Lopez (bass).
Mozart – Litaniae Lauretanae B.M.V. for solos, mixed choir, orchestra and organ K. 195
Great Mass in C minor K. 427
Attend a morning performance by the Mozarteum University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Felix Mildenberger with Marianna Julia Zolnacz as the flute soloist.
Mozart – Symphony in E flat major K. 16
Mozart – Concerto in D major for flute and orchestra K. 314
Mozart – Symphony in G minor K. 183
After a break for lunch at leisure, this afternoon’s concert features the acclaimed Armida Quartet with a flute solo by Mathilde Calderini.
Mozart – Quartet in F major for two violins, viola and cello K. 590
Mozart – Quartet in G major for flute, violin, viola and cello K. 285a
Mozart – Quartet in A major for flute, violin, viola and cello K. 298
Mozart – Quartet in E flat major for two violins, viola and cello K. 428
Enjoy dinner at a nearby restaurant before attending a performance of The Messiah, an anticipated highlight of the festival. The orchestra, Les Musiciens du Louvre, conducted by Marc Minkowski with Elena Tsallagova (soprano), Wiebke Lehmkuhl (alto), Richard Croft (tenor) and José Coca Loza (bass) perform Mozart’s seldom-heard German-language version of Handel’s Messiah. The oratorio includes additional woodwind parts and is brought to life by distinctive director and set designer Robert Wilson.
Mozart – The Messiah KV 572. Oratorio in three parts for soloists, choir and orchestra by Georg Friedrich Händel (HWV 56) reworked by Mozart
Enjoy the morning at leisure. Then, join Marshall and fellow tour members for a special farewell lunch before attending an afternoon performance by renowned fortepiano, harpsichord and modern piano artist Kristian Bezuidenhout.
Mozart – Sonata in C major for piano K. 309
Mozart – Rondo in A minor for piano K. 511
Mozart – Fantasia in C minor for piano K. 475
Mozart – Sonata in C Minor for piano K. 457
Finally, in the evening, attend a performance by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by the celebrated Daniel Barenboim, who will also perform on the piano.
Mozart – Serenade in B flat major for two oboes, two clarinets, two basset horns, four horns, two bassoons and double bass K. 361 Gran Partita
Mozart – Concerto in A major for piano and orchestra K. 488
Mozart – Symphony in D major K. 385 Haffner Symphony
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.
Check out of the hotel and depart Salzburg for Vienna International Airport for suggested Qatar Airways flights via Doha in the late evening.
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.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
19 November 2019
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Malta or Austria.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in centrally-located 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Premium category tickets to all included performances
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wine
- Economy class flight Valletta – Vienna (NB: Economy class checked baggage allowance of 1 bag up to 23kg)
- Lectures and talks throughout with your tour leader, Marshall McGuire
- Comprehensive sightseeing including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation throughout on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Transfer on arrival in Valletta
- Transfer on departure in Salzburg
- Airport porterage
- Items of a personal nature including telephone, laundry, taxis, minibar, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
The Phoenicia Malta *****
Grand Hotel Wien *****
Sheraton Grand Salzburg *****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.