Viva Verdi & La Scala – Overview 

You may have the Universe…if I may have Italy – Giuseppe Verdi

Viva Verdi & La Scala – 28th September to 20th October, 2023. The focus of this tour is clearly the acclaimed Festival Verdi in Parma and we spend a good part of the tour in the region of Emilia Romagna. We will have excellent seats to see the three major performances in the Festival, as well as at least one concert. We can also usually offer some ‘optional extra’ performances depending on scheduling. We are advised as soon as the Festival Programme has been released and have access to tickets before they are on sale to the general public. This is an invaluable privilege and one we have worked hard to achieve.

The Verdi Festival is now acknowledged world-wide as the premier celebration of Verdi’s magnificent operas and the programme is always a mix of popular and lesser-known Verdi works. The performances standard is simply wonderful, as is the festival atmosphere and the palpable love of the Italian people for their great Verdi. The ‘locals’ in particular, demonstrate a true reverence for their favourite son.

We fly into Bologna and make our way straight to the small town of Reggio Emilia. Even though a small town, it boasts two opera theatres and an enviable lifestyle! Whilst here our inevitable gastronomic adventure begins as we start to learn about and enjoy the various foods for which the region is justly famous. Food is serious business here and Verdi himself took it VERY seriously.

This Emilia Romagna region is known as ‘the stomach of Italy!’ It’s a charming ‘non-touristy’ region with captivating old buildings and welcoming piazzas. Some of you will instantly begin a quest to discover the best Parmiggiano Regiano, the best Prosciutto or the best Tortelloni. We will take you on a special visit to a small, family-owned balsamic vinegar production in the hills above Reggio Emilia. Here we will tour the farm with the property’s owner and learn a little family history and a lot about vinegar! We’ll then enjoy a tasting followed by a delightful long lunch with many dishes featuring the liquid gold made on site.
Whilst here and in Parma will make visits to many interesting musical places whilst attending the Festival… These will include a full day ‘walking in Verdi’s footsteps.’ We engage a superlative local guide for this special day and her entertaining insights and sunny personality are always much enjoyed.

We visit Verdi’s birthplace at La Roncole, the church where he played the organ as a young boy, his magnificent country villa at Sant’ Agata, (a place where Verdi’s heart always remained and to which he always returned whenever he could,) the little ‘Teatro Verdi’ in Busseto near where he was born, (a gift from the town) and finally the home of his great benefactor and father-in-law (and now museum) Signor Barezzi, in Busseto.

This region produced many fine singers and musicians, including the great conductor Toscanini. We will hear about them also and you can visit several extra museums in free time if you wish. A special visit will be to the country home (now museum) of the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The colourful home is filled with memorabilia, the sound of his magnificent voice, his paintings…in fact, it has been  left largely as it was when he lived there. We also visit the delightful Renata Tebaldi Museum, again, the sound of her glorious soprano permeates the building as you take in the displays. Some of her costumes and gowns are stunning….

Once we leave Parma, we head to Milan, stopping off at the renowned Cremona violin museum and visiting one of the local workshops. Cremona is a lovely little town with some nice places for lunch.

Arriving in cosmopolitan Milan is always a thrill and we stay just steps from La Scala, from the famous Galleria and from the magnificent Duomo. Our city walking tour will include the opportunity to take a guided walk on the ‘wedding cake’ spire-filled terraces of the Duomo. We will also take a special back-stage tour at La Scala and visit the small La Scala Museum.

There are several wonderful museums and galleries and many shops within a very short walk of our hotel. There are always special exhibitions too. You will be spoilt for choice during free time! Our night at La Scala is always a tour highlight and sometimes we can offer an optional second opera, concert or a ballet for those who wish to really indulge. A highpoint for many is our privileged guided tour of Verdi’s ‘greatest work,’ his Casa di Riposo (retirement home) for older singers and musicians of limited means. Verdi’s mausoleum is here also and adds a moving touch at the end of the tour.

Our last stop is magical Venice where we will be treated to an opera in the picturesque jewel La Fenice. We’ll also hear one of Venice’s famous Vivialdi string ensembles performing in an ancient church. We’ll enjoy a some guided walking tours and of course include the magnificent Duomo San Marco and the Doge’s Palace. You will have a choice of of some extra tours as well, or you may prefer to just wander about or take a Vaporetto and see where you are led!

We stay right by the Grand Canal and possibly tearing yourself away from the breakfast terrace will be one of the hardest things you’ll have to do on tour!

This is a very special tour for those who love Verdi and his operas. It is a rare opportunity to see the places that were so important in his life and to learn about his inspirations, frustrations and accomplishments.

This tour offers a thrilling, fascinating and uplifting 19-days walking in the footsteps of Verdi and other great Italian Opera figures. It’s a rare opportunity to indulge in the operas of Verdi, to learn about his inspirations, frustrations and accomplishments. Along side the musical pleasures, expect some of the best food you’ll ever eat!

We do hope you will join us on this Italian Opera Lovers trip of a lifetime!

Client comment 2022 : Apart from all the fun and great opera, it was a treat to watch at close quarters while you both performed your magic. I remain in awe of your network of extraordinary local contacts Neil, Canberra  

Client comment 2022 : I think your tour and my holiday was absolutely amazing. I realise for a tour to go as seamlessly as it did that there was a HUGE amount of work before and during the trip. A big thank you for such a wonderful tour. Seona, Rotorua

Client comment 2022 : Amazing trip with such great fellow Opera lovers. Congratulations Jennifer & Stewart for your organization & special extra treats. Would love to travel with you again Marlene, Sunshine Coast  

Client comment 2018
 : I so thoroughly enjoyed traveling with you to Italy on our wonderful Viva Verdi tour in October. It was truly the trip of a lifetime for me. Thank you both very much for your careful planning and convivial direction of the trip. It was really a fantastic experience. I have been fortunate to visit Italy five times, but it is a place one never can get enough of. You both made it very delightful indeed! I really enjoyed the focus on the life of Verdi and our visits to so many places of musical significance. Our evenings at the opera were unforgettable. Christina P., Adelaide

Do Join us!

Stewart & Jennifer

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