- 2nd to 22nd October, 2018
- 16 Nights in Italy
- Return Flights on Emirates
- Dubai stop-overs
- Performance tickets & all scheduled entries
- Character-filled 4 and 5 star hotels right in the Old Towns
- Daily buffet breakfast
- Seven dinners & 2 Lunches
in tried and tested restaurants
- Professional Tour Director and Local Expert Guides
- Hosted by Jennifer & Stewart
- Deposit & 3 easy payments.
- Contact us for full pricing
OPERATIF! Musical Travel
Why Travel With Jennifer & Stewart?
- Being a boutique, 'hands-on' operation, we can give personal attention to all aspects of planning and hosting our tours, and you will always deal directly with us.
- OPERATIF is an established business, now entering its 24th year.
- As professional singers we have a high level of industry knowledge and are regularly in contact with friends, colleagues and associates in the field of classical music and opera.
- Our tours are guaranteed to depart. They are so popular that they are not dependent on numbers, so there is no risk your tour will be cancelled at 3 months' notice ( or merged with another tour ).
- Our travel patrons love music, so you are sure you will have something in common with your fellow travellers.
- We’ve no need to spend a lot on glossy brochures and advertising and we don’t have big ‘overheads.’ This means we can deliver excellent value-for-money to our tour clients.
- We devote countless hours to researching the tours and engage one of the Europe’s largest travel wholesalers for our European trips to achieve keen pricing and ensure everything runs smoothly.
- Even once you’ve booked a tour, you will receive our ‘updates’ with more details about attractions or destinations, advice on weather, what to pack, the best ways of communicating with home and so on. We are there to assist you at all times.
- We choose high standard (4-star), character/ historic hotels in central locations.
- We strive to create lasting, wonderful memories, including special experiences we know will stay with you long after the fleeting encounters of "on-and-off-the-bus”/”tick-that-off-the-list" tours.
- Our European tours are at a leisurely pace, (on average, three night stays in each hotel) so you’ve time to really ‘feel’ and absorb your location.
- We allow time for you to relax or to explore in smaller groups...to shop, sit in a village square, visit small galleries, gardens or see extra concerts. These are the times when you can follow your heart, feel where you are and truly absorb the atmosphere.
- If you’ve previously visited many of the places we are visiting, bear in mind what past clients say.... “We didn’t do it like this last time!” Stewart and Jennifer LOVE returning to places they’ve enjoyed before. A little familiarity allows another ‘depth’ to your travels. Like visiting old ‘friends’ you haven’t seen for a while, memories are rekindled as new ones are created....lovely!
- You’ll have Jennifer and Stewart as your hosts, plus, on European and Asian tours, our tour director and also specialist guides looking after you.
- Our meals are superior quality. Unlike many tours, dinners in Europe offer 3 courses/3 choices each and all are served with local wine, mineral water, fresh coffee/tea or juice if you prefer.
Viva Verdi + La Scala - Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena, Milan and much more
Following the great success of our 2017 tour, we have again been guaranteed an allocation of great tickets for the three main operas in the exciting annual 2018 Festival Verdi in Parma.
This will be a mix of extremely well-known and lesser known Verdi operas. We also have been guaranteed great seats to Verdi's Ernani and Mozart's La Finta Giadiniera at the Italian opera icon, La Scala. We have secured wonderful accommodation...charming, elegant and right in the centre of each town so you can walk a short distance to most attractions you might wish to visit. The tour has a strict limit of 25 people, due to ticket availability and hotel rooms. We have included 7 delightful dinners - with choices and wine, a convivial lunch in Dubai and a country estate lunch in Emilia Romagna.
Our spectacular tour includes Dubai stopovers both ways....then a series of truly memorable experiences enjoyed from our four bases - Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma & Milano.
Below is an Overview of the tour and you can download the flyer and print if you wish. (or request a copy by mail)
VIVA VERDI + LA SCALA - ITINERARY OVERVIEW
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Flying on an Emirates A380 from our various states we meet up at Dubai airport. We’ve a 24 hour stopover to unwind in a comfy hotel and to meet our fellow travellers over a convivial lunch. We fly straight into Bologna next morning, meet our coach and drive to our hotel majestic hotel, (literally!), right in the centre of the Old Town. There will be time for a walk around or to rest up before we dine on famous local cuisine at a delightful nearby restaurant. ( NO spaghetti Bolognese. It’s a myth!)
Whilst based for 2 nights in Bologna we will take a guided walking tour of the Old Town’s many highlights, including the famous ‘first’ university in the world with its Anatomical Theatre, the Two Towers, Cathedral and main church. The medieval architecture and covered porticos of Bologna are truly magnificent.
We'll visit the enchanting Music Museum with our guide, before allowing you time for your own exploring, shopping or eating!
Our next 4-nights are spent in the utterly charming and friendly small town of Reggio Emilia, where again, our beautiful (and most historic) hotel is just off the central square… En route we stop near Modena to visit the touchingly atmospheric home of the late Luciano Pavarotti. Much of the home is just as he left it but some more memorabilia and displays have been sensitively added. It’s a moving experience.
On our first night in Reggio Emilia we enjoy a robust dinner at a small restaurant only frequented by locals. Thankfully the next day we can walk it off as we take a tour to learn about the history and buildings of the Old Town, including the room where the Italian flag, the Tricolore (or 3 colours) was created! Whilst based here we travel to the hills to visit a family-owned Balsamic Vinegar property where, after our tour, we have a balsamic tasting with the owner, then settle in for a fabulous long lunch, with wine...and touches of balsamic!
We will take a trip to visit the Castle and see the territories of the legendary Medieval Queen Mathilde of Canossa and on another day, explore the unspoilt town of Mantua with its statue of ‘Rigoletto’, wonderful theatre and castle. Verona is very nearby and you sense...this is Shakespeare & Verdi country! There will also be plenty of time to just enjoy little Reggio Emilia, it’s churches, museum, cafes and lovely square. (Just watch the bikes....everyone in this flat area of Italy seems to travel by bicycle....even grannie bringing her goodies home from market!!)
Our next stop, for 5-nights, is the home of the Verdi Fesitval, Parma, with it’s beautiful main Teatro Regio and other smaller theatres. Once in Parma we’ll again enjoy a first night dinner at a tried and true fabulous little restaurant and, next morning, take a Walking Tour to learn about the town and see the features of the Old town, (again, our hotel is right inside it and a few minutes walk to the theatres!).
Whilst in Parma we will spend a very important day walking in Maestro Verdi’s footsteps, from his birthplace at La Roncole, to his home, Villa Verdi in Sant’ Agata. Verdi remained tied to the land where he was born. We'll also see a lovely little museum dedicated to this region’s great Italian diva, Renata Tebaldi...with the 'voice of an angel'. The museum of Toscanini is located in the town of Reggio Emilia and is worth a visit during free time. Our main focus will of course be attending the Verdi Festival with operas presented in three main theatres, the tiny Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in nearby Busseto (300 seats!), the very old Farnese and the main, Teatro Reggio which are both in Parma itself. We will have much sought-after tickets to the three main operas, Un Giorno di Regno, Le Trouvere (Trovatore sung in the original French) and the really big one...Macbeth! There is also the opportunity to attend some of the secondary performances which are announced nearer to the time (The cost of these is very reasonable…as they are intended as ‘add ons.’ ) They may include the annual concert of arias and duets presented by the 'Club of 27', an association of 27 older gentlemen, each member representing one of Verdi's operas. This was a fabulous night of singing...and a real education seeing the enthusiasm of the locals for their favourite son, Verdi.... Mind you, all of Italy loved and still loves Giuseppe Verdi !
When it is time to leave Parma we head to Milano for 5 nights, visiting the small town of Cremona on the way to see it’s quite magnificent Duomo (cathedral) and charming square but also, to visit the workshop of a local violin maker and see just how it is done. (Cremona is the home of violins including Stradivarius and other famous violin makers). There is a large, interactive violin ( and other strings ) museum in town too which you can visit during your free time if you wish.
In Milan, we spend our first night enjoying a celebratory dinner together at a lovely little restaurant, literally adjacent to our hotel. The hotel is truly lovely and you are right near the famous Galleria and 5mins walk from La Scala or the Duomo! 'incredible! Whilst based here, we have two performances to enjoy at La Scala, Verdi’s Ernani and Mozart’s La Fanta Giardiniera. Wow! We’ll also take a fascinating private tour of La Scala, including behind the stage, and learn all about its history and the modern technical mastery which, through use of a tower and lifts, enables sets to be stored and changed quickly and efficiently from performance to performance in a matter of hours! We will also see the La Scala Museum.
We will tour the magnificent Duomo, the Roman excavations beneath and also enjoy the thrill of walking around on its high terraces (lift access) among the pinnacles and gargoyles! A final salute to Verdi is a visit to his ‘Casa di Riposo’, the retirement home he established for retired opera singers and musicians. He considered it his ‘greatest work’ and it is here that we visit the final resting place of Verdi and his wife, Giuseppina. When it is time to start the journey home we will enjoy one final dinner as we reflect upon all we've seen, heard and done in this less visited, unspoiled 'heartland' of Italy!
We’ll spend stopover night in Dubai at the convenient Airport Terminal Hotel, allowing our luggage to be checked right through from Milan to home. Bliss!
With your hosts, Jennifer & Stewart and our Tour Director you will be well looked after as we travel together at an easy pace. Local Expert Guides will pass on their knowledge and special insights, bringing to life the various sites and places we visit. There will also be plenty of free time for you to enjoy the essential contemplation over coffee or a drink or continuing your own exploration! We do hope that you will join us on this ‘trip of a lifetime’ and celebrate the life and operas of the great Giuseppe Verdi, right in his beloved homeland. We think he'd be delighted!
We do hope you will join us on this Verdi Pilgrimage and Italian musical 'trip of a lifetime'!
2nd October - to Dubai : EK435 ex Brisbane at 9.00pm, EK413 ex Sydney at 9.10am, EK407 ex Melbourne at 9.25pm, EK441 ex Adelaide at 9.50pm, EK421 ex Perth at 10.20pm, EK449 ex Auckland @ 8.30pm. All arrive Dubai between 5.10am and 5.40am, so we meet in the arrivals hall/baggage collection before Customs/Immigration.
4th October - to Bologna: EK93 from Dubai at 9.00am ( arrive at 1.20pm )
20th October to Dubai : EK206 from Milan at 14.05 - 2.05pm ( arrive at 22.10 - 10.10pm ) - luggage checked all the way home - sleep at Dubai International Airport Hotel ( inside terminal, so no customs to clear. Just go to the gate in the morning )
21st October from Dubai : EK434 to Brisbane at 10.35am ( arr 6.25am ), EK412 to Sydney at 10.15am ( arr 6.05am), EK406 to Melbourne at 10.15am ( arr 5.35am ), EK440 to Adelaide at 2.05am ( arr 8.05pm ) - or can be routed via Melbourne on EK406, EK424 to Perth at 9.55am ( arr 12.50am ), EK448 to Auckland at 10.05am ( arr 9.50am )