The Farewell Concerts of Zubin Mehta

Join performing arts specialist Rodney Phillips for the farewell concerts of Maestro Zubin Mehta in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, plus other world-class performances by major Israeli cultural institutions.

After a career spanning more than 60 years, one of the greatest orchestra conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries will take his final bow in magnificent farewell concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Renaissance Tours has secured an exclusive allocation of the best seats in the house for performances in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Also enjoy premium seats for Verdi’s dramatic operatic masterpiece Simon Boccanegra by the Israeli Opera, and the Israeli premiere of singer Chava Albertstein with the Israel Camerata Orchestra. In Jaffa, discover the unique Nalaga’at Theater, the world’s sole company of deaf-blind performers, and enjoy a private performance by the Carmel Quartet in Jerusalem.

Between performances, enrich your experience with visits to some of Israel’s most fascinating cultural and historical sites.

Depart Australia or New Zealand in the afternoon on suggested Cathay Pacific flights to Tel Aviv via Hong Kong. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.

Arrive in Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion International Airport) in the morning on suggested flights and transfer to the hotel (transfer included in tour price).

In the afternoon, join Rodney and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing, followed by a special welcome dinner.

Then enjoy the best seats in the house for a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, performing in their home venue, the magnificent Bronfman Auditorium. Tonight, Mehta conducts flautist Guy Eshed performing Reinecke’s Flute Concerto in D Major, the composer’s last concerto before his death, and Beethoven’s beloved Symphony No. 6 Pastoral.


This morning, explore some of the highlights of the ancient port city of Jaffa, part of the modern Tel Aviv-Yafo conurbation. In the Old City, see the elegant limestone Jaffa Clock Tower, built in the early 20th century by a Jewish businessman to commemorate the silver jubilee of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, then-ruler of the land. Wander through the Flea Market, where every imaginable item from brassware to Arab drums, Persian ceramics and Jewish antiques are bought and sold. Also visit the Ilana Goor Museum, which houses the eclectic art collection of the prolific Israeli sculptor and designer.

After lunch in Jaffa, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are at leisure.


In the morning, enjoy a talk by Rodney on the upcoming days’ performances and about the rich history of the performing arts in Israel.

Then discover some of the secrets of one of the world’s premier opera companies on an exclusive backstage tour of the Israeli Opera Theater.

The afternoon is at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a performance by the Nalaga’at Theater in Jaffa, the world’s only performing arts company entirely composed of deaf-blind artists. The theatre company was established in 2007 to provide a forum for artistic expression for deaf-blind performers, and has presented several successful productions both in Israel and overseas.


Today, explore some of the historical and cultural sites of modern-day Tel Aviv. Visit the Bauhaus District, known locally as the ‘White City’, a collection of some 4,000 buildings built from the early 1930s onwards by German Jewish refugees. Also visit the Ben-Gurion Museum, the historic house-museum of Israel’s first Prime Minister and father of the nation, David Ben-Gurion.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Boasting a collection which covers all of the major artistic movements of the early 20th century, the museum contains works by Gustav Klimt, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Jackson Pollock and Roy Lichtenstein, along with many prominent Israeli artists.

Dinner this evening is at leisure.


The morning is at leisure to continue your exploration of Tel Aviv at your own pace.

In the late afternoon, enjoy a talk by Rodney and then proceed to the Israeli Opera Theater for a performance of Verdi’s dramatic operatic masterpiece Simon Boccanegra, set in the turmoil of 14th century Genoese politics as the corsair Simon Boccanegra is elected Doge of Genoa.


Check out of the hotel in the morning and travel to the ancient port city of Caesarea. Built between 22 and 9 BC by King Herod the Great, excavations today reveal just a glimpse of the 3,000 heactares of Caesarea Maritima at the height of its power. The city boasts an amphitheatre bigger than Rome’s Colosseum and one of the largest artificial harbours of its time.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Haifa and visit the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum, which documents the history of maritime migration to Israel from the days of British Mandatory Palestine in the 1930s to the early years of the State of Israel in the 1940s and 1950s, and the establishment of the Israeli Navy.

Check in to the hotel, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.


This morning, enjoy a guided tour of the Bahá’í Gardens of Mount Carmel. Distinctly classical in style, the gardens stretch nearly a kilometre in length with 19 terraces of flowers, water features and statues. Visit the Stella Maris Monastery located on the slopes of Mount Carmel and the Universal House of Justice, home to the governing council of the Bahá’í faith. Gazing down towards the sea, Mt Carmel offers a stunning vista of the coastal city of Haifa stretched out beneath.

Return to the hotel in the afternoon, followed by a Shabbat dinner at the hotel.


Check out of the hotel and travel to the city of Jerusalem, cultural capital of Israel and focal point of so much of Jewish and broader Middle Eastern history.

On arrival in Jerusalem, acquaint yourself with this extraordinary city on a coach orientation tour, travelling up to the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem for a superb panorama of the city.

Check in to the hotel in the afternoon before an evening at leisure.


Enjoy a talk by Rodney in the morning, followed by a walking tour of the Jewish and Muslim Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. Wander through the recently-restored Roman Cardo mainstreet, and tour the Western Wall Tunnels. View the Temple Mount area, the holiest site in Judaism, the third holiest site in Islam, and a revered site to Christians. Also see some of the distinctive architecture of the Muslim Quarter.

After lunch at a local restaurant, attend an exclusive performance by the Carmel Quartet at the historic Kaisersaal. In a special concert organised for our tour, the energetic ensemble, one of Israel’s most acclaimed string quartets, will perform a selection of works including those of Paul Ben-Haim, a 1940s German émigré who became Israel’s first prominent classical composer, winning the Israel Prize for music in 1957.

The evening is at leisure.


This morning, visit the Israel Museum, the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel, holding the widest collection of Holy Land and Biblical archaeology in the world. A particular highlight of the museum is the Shrine of the Book, which is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Biblical manuscripts, as well as rare Mediaeval Biblical writings.

After free time for lunch and an afternoon at leisure, enjoy a performance by singer Chava Albertstein and the Israel Camerata Orchestra at the Jerusalem Theater. In their first performance together in Israel, Albertstein and the Camerata Orchestra will perform a selection of songs from Albertstein’s Yiddish albums Di Krenitze and Lemale and some of her Hebrew favourites. The Camerata Orchestra will also perform Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 Classical and his evocative Overture on Hebrew Themes.


Today, continue your exploration of the Old City, with visits to the Christian and Armenian Quarters. Visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist and walk the Via Dolorosa, a winding route from the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Visit the Garden of Gethsemane and Kidron Valley, which separates the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.

The early afternoon is at leisure to continue your exploration of Jerusalem at your own pace, followed by an evening talk by Rodney, who will be joined by special guests from one of Israel’s major musical institutions (to be confirmed).


After a morning at leisure, enjoy a special farewell lunch with Rodney and fellow travellers.

In the evening, enjoy the best seats in the house for the final performance of your fortnight immersed in the performing arts of Israel. Tonight, Zubin Mehta conducts the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Verdi’s Messa di Requiem, featuring Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo soprano), Gregory Kunde (tenor) and Oleg Tsybulko (bass).


In the morning, check out of the hotel and transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport (transfer included in tour price).

Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport in time for suggested Cathay Pacific flights to Australia or New Zealand via Hong Kong departing from 15:00 onwards. 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.


Per person, twin-share

AUD 12,950

Single supplement*

AUD 3,250

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 1,500

*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.

Final payment due

30 April 2019

Tour code


Fitness level

Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline

Cathay Pacific
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 Israel.

# Important consideration: Please note, if you intend to travel to certain countries after visiting Israel (see full list at, you may require a new passport as entry may be refused to travellers with evidence of having visited Israel, even if there are no Israeli entry/exit stamps in your passport.

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally-located 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
  • Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wine with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Lectures and talks throughout with your tour leader, Rodney Phillips
  • 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)
  • 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)


Your hotels
Tel Aviv – Dan Tel Aviv Hotel *****
Haifa – Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel *****
Jerusalem – Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem *****

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.