OPERA EN ESPAÑA with OPERA AMERICA & PRESIDENT-CEO MARC A. SCORCA
Photo: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (courtesy of Javier Yaya, CAC)
In recent years the “Opera Triangle” of Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona has undergone a major resurgence, spurred by artistic developments at Madrid’s Teatro Real, consistently intelligent programming at Valencia’s magnificent Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía and the top-quality performance standard espoused by Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu. It is a pleasure to offer this opportunity for OPERA America Ambassadors to travel to Spain in fall 2017 where we will enjoy the country’s finest opera and experience the bountiful cultural, historic and culinary diversions that are of interest to frequent and infrequent visitors alike.
Starting in the Catalan capital of Barcelona we will immerse ourselves in its myriad attractions, ranging from Gaudí’s La Pedrera and his ongoing masterpiece, the amazing Temple of La Sagrada Familia, the Museo Picasso and the beautiful Palau de la Música Catalana. Valencia is the next stop, with its attractive
Old City, an impressive Museum of Fine Arts and the spectacular City of Arts and Sciences, anchored by the Palau de les Arts, the breathtaking performance hall designed by renowned Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava. Arriving in Madrid, we will explore the city’s trio of art museums (Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofía) and go out of town to visit the resting place of the royal dynasties, the famed San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
At performances throughout the trip, OPERA America President & CEO Marc A. Scorca will provide rich artistic and historical insights into each opera we see. Confirmed performances include Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona and a concert performance of Donizetti’s La Favorite and new production of Bizet’s Carmen by French director Mariame Clément at Madrid’s Teatro Real. Additional opera, zarzuela or flamenco performances will be added as European schedules are announced.
In all three cities we have selected mid-size top quality hotels, well located and each created from classic 19th century buildings, carefully restored and converted to incorporate all the necessary contemporary elements, ensuring that our party has every possible comfort and convenience.
Barcelona: Occupying the former headquarters of the Phillipines Tobacco Company and designed by architect Josep Oriol Mestres, the Hotel 1898 occupies an enviable location right on La Rambla, close to the Gran Teatre del Liceu and in the heart of the city’s most desirable walking neighborhood.
Valencia: The Hospes Palau de la Mar, a catalogued aristocratic mansion, is located on the stylish Avinguda de Navarro Reverter and is the only 5-star property enabling easy independent access by foot to the nearby Jardí del Túria Park and also the city’s historic center.
Madrid: Hotel Villa Real, on the Plaza de las Cortes, has 115 elegantly decorated rooms and features a unique art collection, displayed in the rooms and throughout the common areas.
The following outline presents a preliminary itinerary for the performances, meals and activities planned in each city. As additional details become available from performance venues in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, the itinerary may change to take advantage of the most enticing cultural opportunities.
Thursday, October 26
Independent air departures from North America to Barcelona (BCN).
Friday, October 27
Independent arrivals and transfer to the Hotel 1898. The balance of the day is for relaxation after the journey. We gather in the evening for a welcome reception before leaving for dinner at the nearby Restaurante Fonda España, where Martin Berasategui presides over the production of excellent traditional Catalan cuisine with modern touches.
Saturday, October 28
A breakfast is included each day. In the morning we plan to pay a short private visit to the Teatre del Liceu and then meet our local guide to leave for an introductory coach tour of the important areas of the city. During the tour we will be introduced to the creative genius of Catalonia’s best known architect, Antoni Gaudí, whose architectural works are probably the most unique feature of the Catalan capital. A break for lunch will be included and today’s touring will be completed with a visit to one of the city’s celebrated art museums. Later, we will meet for a reception and introductory talk by Marc before walking the short distance to the Teatre del Liceu for Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.
Sunday, October 29
Today we delve further into the world of Gaudí with visits to Güell Park, the Sagrada Familia and the Palau Güell or the Casa Milá. We continue with a visit to the Picasso Museum and conclude with a luncheon at Petit Comité, featuring one of Catalonia’s most cutting-edge kitchens. In the afternoon we may attend an opera or concert at one of the city’s other performance venues, as available, and enjoy a relaxed evening. H
Monday, October 30 - Tuesday, October 31
Check out and transfer to Valencia and the Hotel Hospes Palau de la Mar where we stay for two nights. During these days we will have the opportunity to get to know Spain’s third largest city and, in particular, its notable City of Arts & Sciences, a 90-acre cultural and architectural complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. Here we will tour the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía with stacked theaters for both the opera and symphony. In the evening, we will attend a performance in the opera house or a recital by young opera artists from the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo.
Wednesday, November 1
We continue our journey today with a transfer to Madrid and the Hotel Villa Real where we check in for the balance of our stay in Spain. The afternoon is for relaxation and personal familiarization with the surroundings. We gather later for an aperitivo in the hotel’s East 47 bar and then dinner at Restaurante Paradis Madrid on nearby Calle Marques de Cuba, boasting fine Mediterranean cuisine.
Thursday, November 2
This morning starts with a guided coach tour of the city that will include a private visit to the Teatro Real, a unique building with a stunning interior. Lunch and the afternoon is at leisure and we gather later to return to the Teatro Real for the evening’s concert performance of La Favorite, Donizetti’s grand opera that premiered in 1840. After, we dine in the theater’s elegant restaurant before returning to our hotel.
Friday, November 3
Our morning starts when we meet our guide again for a walking tour “Madrid of the Enlightenment” that will take us through the Prado Museum and its neighboring area. The afternoon is left open for individual exploration, an opportunity to continue visits to the other major art museums in the vicinity, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía, or other activity. In the evening, we will gather for a group flamenco lesson and performance.
Saturday, November 4
The final day together takes us out of the city to the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the historic residence of the Kings of Spain. We will complete a tour of the extensive complex that includes the Pantheon of the Kings, the impressive final resting place of many Bourbon and Habsburg monarchs. Lunch follows at Restaurante La Rueda, one of the fine dining choices in the town of El Escorial. We return to Madrid and meet as a group later for a reception in the hotel to celebrate our time together in Spain, before leaving for our final performance, Bizet’s Carmen at the Teatro Real.
Sunday, November 5
Independent assisted departures to Madrid’s Barajas airport or extension.
- Nine nights with 4 and 5-star hotel accommodation
- Breakfast included daily
- 5-6 performances with first category or best available seating
- Performance introductions by OPERA America’s President/
- CEO Marc A. Scorca
- Seven lunch/dinners and two receptions
- Two full day and four half day guided touring
- Site and museum entrances
- Private coach transfers throughout tour
- Gratuities for restaurants, guides and drivers
- OPERA America staff leadership throughout
- Act 1 Tours’ principal throughout
- Airport transfers on arrival and departure.
- Meals and personal expenses outside the group itinerary
OPERA America Ambassador members at $1,000 or higher:
- $7,950 per person, double shared occupancy
- $9,200 single room occupancy
- Non-members: Please add $1,000 per household (tax-deductible) for your Ambassadorship to OPERA America
Call or email to receive an OPERA AMERICA - Act 1 Tours Registration form for deposit, payment, cancellation and insurance details.