Music in the Mountains
Experience breathtaking music and scenery at the best of Europe’s summer music festivals in Switzerland and Austria, surrounded by pristine alpine beauty.
Wonder at the beauty of the Swiss Alps as you soak up the extraordinary array of classical music at the Verbier Festival, where outstanding performances by internationally-renowned soloists are on show, including Yuja Wang, Gautier Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos and Miloš Karadaglić to name a few. In Bregenz in Austria, enjoy among the best seats for Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto as the echoes of exceptional operatic and classical performances reverberate across Lake Constance from atop the famous floating stage, one of the largest in the world. Lastly, experience the Tyrolean Festival of Erl, an annual celebration of music and the arts which transforms this tiny Austrian town into the heart of classical music and opera each year, including works by Beethoven and Shubert.
**Verbier and Tyrolean Erl performances announced**
Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qatar Airways flights to Geneva via Doha. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Arrive in Geneva and make your way to the hotel.
In the late afternoon join Christopher and fellow tour members for a welcome briefing and dinner.
Check out of the hotel and transfer by coach from one end of the glittering Lake Geneva to the other. Arrive in Montreux and enjoy free time to explore this charming lakeside town before lunch in a local restaurant.
This afternoon begin the ascent up the mountains to Verbier. Set high in the Swiss Alps, Verbier is located on a south-facing terrace in the Val de Bagnes and its rolling grassy hills rise to meet the great alpine conifer forests, while in the distance some of the peaks still retain their snowcaps even at the height of summer.
In the evening, attend the opening concert of the Verbier Festival. Tonight’s concert features the Verbier Festival Orchestra with Music Director Valery Gergiev, Leonidas Kavakos on violin, Gautier Capuçon on cello and Yuja Wang on piano, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major and Symphony No.9 in D Minor.
This morning attend a talk by Christopher, followed by a concert by French ensemble Quatuor Ébène performing Beethoven’s String Quartets No.1, No.10 and No.9.
Tonight, enjoy a performance by Armenian-American pianist Sergei Babayan featuring works by Liszt, Schubert, Rachmaninoff and Andrius Zlabys.
Enjoy a day at leisure before the evening’s performance. You may like to go behind the scenes and visit one of the open rehearsals which occur throughout the duration of the festival, where members of the public are invited see how particular pieces are perfected and where the culture of exchange between artists comes to life.
In the evening, attend a performance by the Verbier Festival Orchestra of Schoenberg‘s cantata A Survivor from Warsaw, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major and Symphony No.3 (known as ‘’Eroica’’).
This morning attend a performance by Chinese piano phenomenon Yuja Wang and French cellist Gautier Capuçon featuring works by César Franck and Chopin.
Tonight, enjoy a concert by Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená and Swedish clarinettist Martin Fröst performing works by Debussy, Chausson, Stravinsky, Ravel, Strauss, Brahms, Janáček and Dvořák.
Attend a morning pre-performance talk by Christopher, followed by a concert featuring Canadian violinist James Ehnes and young French pianist Lucas Debargue.
This evening, attend a performance by the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Russian pianist Mikhail Pletnev of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Symphony No.6 in F Major (known as ‘’Pastoral’’).
This morning, attend a recital by guitar virtuoso Miloš Karadaglić including classical music and modern works.
In the evening, enjoy a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 and Requiem in D Minor by the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra under the baton of world-renowned pianist and conductor András Shiff with Chinese soprano Ying Fang, Austrian mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Kulman and others.
The Verbier Festival
The brainchild of Swedish music historian and record executive Martin T:son Engström, the Verbier Festival was established in 1994 and was deliberately staged away from the large cities where classic music festivals are usually held so as to encourage a collaborative atmosphere between established and emerging musicians. In subsequent decades the festival has grown to comprise the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and most recently the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, a special initiative of Engström to nourish young classical music talent. Along with up-and-coming performers, the festival attracts some of the greatest musicians on the international circuit including Bryn Terfel, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Garrick Ohlsson, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Piotr Anderszewski and current conductor Valery Gergiev to name but a few.
Check out of the hotel this morning and travel by coach to Lochau, a town perched on the edge of Lake Constance in Austria.
Tonight, transfer to the Bregenz Festival’s floating stage on Lake Constance and attend a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s iconic opera Rigoletto in an acclaimed production by Philipp Stölzl, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
Enjoy a morning at leisure before visiting Lindau, an island-town located in Germany on the eastern side of Lake Constance. Enjoy a short walking tour of Lindau and experience the town’s rich history, which dates back to the 13th century. Then, meander along the lakeside promenade or the Maximilianstrasse, the town’s main shopping street, followed by a cruise on Lake Constance with dinner on board.
The Bregenz Festival
Founded in 1946, the Bregenz Festival is an annual performing arts festival featuring a variety of music and theatrical performances on the shores of Lake Constance each summer. A number of different venues host a wide variety of concerts throughout the duration of the festival, but the most well-known is the Seebühne – a 7,000-seat open-air amphitheatre which is the world’s largest floating stage, built over the waters of Lake Constance. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is the most significant contributor to the Bregenz Festival and each year guest composers are brought in from around the world to perform alongside world-class soloists. Popular operas are a staple of the Bregenz Festival’s regular program, and recent productions include Carmen, The Magic Flute, Aida and Tosca. Under the artistic direction of Elisabeth Sobotka, the festival continues to grow and as the number of events and scale of performances increases, so does the number of musical enthusiasts who flock from all around the world to witness the magic.
Check out of the hotel in the morning and drive through the foothills of the Austrian Alps to Innsbruck, a city with a rich history and vibrant culture nestled in the valley between two mountains. Stop in Innsbruck for lunch before continuing to Walchsee near Erl. This charming mountain resort is perched between the shores of the Walchsee lake and the towering Kaiser Mountains, a short distance from Erl, home of the Tyrolean Festival of classical music.
Tonight, attend a concert conducted by Andrew Manze and performed by the Camerata Salzburg chamber orchestra and English classical pianist Paul Lewis, including Schubert’s Overture in the Italian Style in C Major and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 and No.4.
The Tyrolean Festival Erl
The Tyrolean Festival Erl is an opera and music festival which was founded in 1997 under the artistic direction of Gustav Khun and runs throughout July and August each year. The festival was initially housed in the Passion Playhouse, a local landmark with sensational acoustics that was originally built as the setting for Erl’s famous Passion of the Christ, however since 2012, the specially-built Festspielhaus has hosted the festival’s performances by world-class musicians from international ensembles and Erl natives alike. The Tyrolean Festival has traditionally featured the works of Richard Wagner amongst a varied program of other operas, orchestral music and recitals, and attracts a wide variety of internationally renowned soloists, alongside its resident orchestra and choir academy. The population of Erl has been intimately involved with the festival since its inception, and productions frequently feature locals as actors, extras, technicians, hosts and more. In 2018 Bernd Loebe took over as director of the festival.
Enjoy a morning at leisure to continue your exploration of Tyrol at your own pace.
This afternoon, transfer to Erl for a final performance at the Tyrolean Festival and attend Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Königskinder. After the success of Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck ventures into an adult lyrical fairy-tale. The production stars Austrian-Australian tenor Gerard Schneider as the King’s son and American soprano Elizabeth Reiter as the Goose-Girl.
Then, join Christopher and fellow tours members for a special farewell dinner.
In the morning, transfer to Munich airport (group transfer included in tour price) for suggested Qatar Airways flights to Australia and New Zealand via Doha or for flights elsewhere in Europe. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.
Final payment due
15 May 2020
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 Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in 4- and 5-star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wines with dinners
- Category 1 tickets (or best available) to all included performances at the Verbier, Bregenz and Tyrolean Festivals as per itinerary
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation throughout on comfortable, air-conditioned coaches
- Group transfer to Munich airport on departure as per itinerary
- Lectures and talks with your tour leader, Christopher Lawrence
- 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)
- Transfer on arrival in Geneva
- Transfer on departure if not using group transfer to Munich airport
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
- Airport porterage
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
Geneva – Hotel President Wilson*****
Verbier – Hotel Le Vanessa ****
Lochau (near Bregenz) – Seehotel Am Kaiserstrand****
Walchsee (near Erl) – Hotel Panorama ****
N.B. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.