Music, Opera and Ballet in North America

Embrace the northern hemisphere winter with the fiery sounds of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists at the peak of North America’s music season.

Be captivated by Lizst’s A Faust Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, along with symphonies and concertos by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov performed by The Royal Concertgebouw and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Chicago. Delight in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Elektra with Nina Stemme in the eponymous role, and the world-premiere ballet production of Anna Karenina by Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet in its first collaboration with The Australian Ballet.

Between grand symphonic works, attend intimate chamber music performances in Washington DC and New York’s Carnegie Hall by the Juilliard String Quartet, the Kronos Quartet and pianist Daniil Trifonov – musicians and ensembles that have redefined the world standard of musical excellence.

Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qantas or Air New Zealand flights to Washington DC. Arrive in Washington DC in the early evening and check-in to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.

After breakfast, join Damien and fellow music lovers for a welcome briefing and pre-performance talk on the coming days’ performances. Afterwards, travel to the Folger Shakespeare Library, the world’s largest collection of original William Shakespeare works and Shakespearean-studies from the 16th century to the present day. Enjoy a tour of the collection, followed by time at leisure in the Reading Room, before a special welcome lunch.

The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

In the evening, travel to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a performance by the Juilliard Quartet. Having recently celebrated their 70th anniversary and is widely considered “the quintessential American string quartet”, the quartet tonight performs works by Haydn, Bartók and Beethoven, three master composers of the string quartet form.


Today, visit the Dumbarton Oaks historic estate, the former residence of Mildred Barnes and Robert Wood Bliss, collectors of art and patrons of scholarship in the humanities. Explore the Music Room where Igor Stravinsky conducted his Concerto in Eb major “Dumbarton Oaks”, commissioned by the Blisses, and tour their Byzantine Collection, with artworks from the 4th to the 15th century.

After lunch, travel to the Kreeger Museum for a guided tour of the museum’s collection. A private collection of over 300 works, predominately from the 1850s to the present, the collection includes European masterpieces of Monet, Renoir, Picasso and Munch, alongside traditional art from central and west Africa.

This evening, enjoy a performance of Liszt’s A Faust Symphony and Brahms’s Tragic Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra. Internationally-acclaimed pianist Nicholas Angelich joins the orchestra for Schumann’s commanding Piano Concerto in A minor.


In the morning, transfer to Washington Airport for a mid-morning flight to New York. Arrive in New York and check in to the hotel.

In the early evening, attend a pre-performance talk by Damien, followed by dinner. Afterwards, enjoy a performance at Carnegie Hall by the Kronos Quartet. Joining the quartet is Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat for musical works originating from the Middle East and Africa. Established over forty years ago, the Kronos Quartet has become one of the most influential and celebrated quartets of today.


This morning, visit the Whitney Museum of American Art for a guided tour of the Andy Warhol exhibition, a comprehensive American exhibition of Warhol’s work from his 1950s commercial illustrations to his 1980s abstracts. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Tonight, return to Carnegie Hall for a recital by Russian virtuoso pianist, Daniil Trifonov. Winner of the XIV Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, the Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Master Competition and a medallist of the XVI International Chopin Piano Competition, the 27-year-old Trifonov performs works by Schumann and Prokofiev, along with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 18.


After breakfast, depart for a guided tour of Radio City Music Hall, a venue with iconic musical history and famous for its art deco interior design.

The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

In the early evening, attend a performance by the eminent Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for a full Mozart programme. Featuring the Escher String Quartet, the programme includes Concerto No. 12 in A major and Divertimento in F major for Two Horns and Strings.


This morning, travel to the Neue Galerie New York, a museum of 20th century German and Austrian fine and decorative arts, for early access into the gallery and a guided tour.

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the Big Apple.


Today, depart New York for a mid-morning flight to Chicago. Arrive in America’s architecturally creative city and check in to your hotel.

Attend a pre-performance talk by Damien in the early evening and then travel to Orchestra Hall for a performance by one of the world’s finest orchestras, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Under Chief Conductor Daniele Gatti, Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 and Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben are treated to the orchestra’s rich brass and gleaming strings for this rare touring performance.


Begin the morning with time at leisure in the heart of the culturally-rich city of Chicago. Later, enjoy a chamber recital in the Chicago Cultural Center, the architecturally-splendid ‘People’s Palace’ with the largest Tiffany stained glass-dome in the world, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.

The remainder of the day is at leisure.


This morning, attend a pre-performance talk by Damien. Then, travel to the Lyric Opera House for a backstage tour to discover the artistry that happens behind the scenes before and during a production by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

In the evening, return to the Lyric Opera House for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Elektra. With Richard Strauss’s dramatic orchestrations and powerful harmonies, the Greek tragedy of Elektra, who seeks revenge on her mother for the murder of her father Agamemnon, is staged with riveting theatrical intensity. The operatic tour de force is headlined by Nina Stemme as Elektra in her Lyric Opera debut.


After breakfast, visit the Art Institute of Chicago for a guided tour of highlights of the institute’s collection. With over 300,000 works, the institute is home to such masterpieces as Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

This evening, attend the world-premiere ballet production of Anna Karenina by Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet in its first-ever collaboration with The Australian Ballet. Against the backdrop of imperial Russia, with a score composed by Ilya Demutsky, Tolstoy’s story of passion and tragedy is re-imagined on the ballet stage.


Spend a morning at leisure and then celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell lunch with Damien and fellow travellers.

In the evening, return to Orchestra Hall for a final display of musical grandeur and virtuosity with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 Winter Dreams and Rachmaninov’s demanding Piano Concerto No. 3, featuring soloist Simon Trpčeski.


Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

For those returning home today, suggested flights from Chicago on Qantas or Air New Zealand. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements, including post-tour accommodation.


Per person, Double-share (1 King bed)

AUD 12,250

Per person, twin-share (2 beds in the room)

AUD 12,750

Single supplement*

AUD 1,950

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 1,000

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

Final payment due

07 December 2018

Tour code


Fitness level

Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness levels definitions.

Suggested airline

Qantas / Air New Zealand
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.


In order to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme, all Australian and New Zealand passport holders require an ESTA pre-authorisation application (completed online in advance of travel).

Tour price includes

  • Premium (category 1) tickets to all included performances
  • Pre-performance talks by your tour leader, Damien Beaumont
  • Accommodation in centrally-located 4 and 5 star hotels, with breakfast daily (B)
  • Economy class flights Washington DC – New York / New York – Chicago
  • Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wine with welcome and farewell lunches
  • Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • 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)
  • ETSA Pre-Authorisation application to visit the USA
  • Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
  • Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, room service, etc.
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Washington DC – The Hamilton Hotel ****
New York – JW Marriott Essex House *****
Chicago – Silversmith Hotel ****

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted