12th – 16th October 2023
*One Last Minute Place Available*
After our last two highly successful trips we are once again attending the Parma Verdi Festival. There will be the opportunity to see Il Trovatore, Falstaff and I Lombardi della Crociata. The performances will take place in the beautiful Teatro Regio in Parma and the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto. There is also the possibility to see the show Il Trovatore.
Parma does not rely on tourism for its wealth, which accounts for the lively Italian bustle on the beautiful streets and for the excellent food found in the trattorie. It is pristinely kept and a true pleasure to explore. The city is bursting with art and we will concentrate on the local artists such as Correggio and Parmigianino. We will also spend one day in Modena and visit the Rocca Sanvitale in the countryside. We have a backstage tour of the Teatro Reggio and will see the Cheese Masters at work in a Parmesan dairy. For those who have travelled to Parma with us before we will be on hand to suggest an alternative itinerary.
The trip will be a mix of monumental architecture, exceptional trompe l’oeil, delicious food and of course, music.
Thursday 12th October
We will land at Bologna Airport late morning and take our coach to Parma. We should arrive in time to check in to the hotel and head out for a light lunch. In the afternoon we will have an introduction to the history of Parma and visit the Duomo to study the frescoes of Correggio, one of the most famous painters of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance. The dome is filled with a swirling throng of angels accompanying the Virgin to the Heavens. We will then see the wonderful medieval baptistery, entirely clad in Verona marble and decorated with 13th and 14th century frescoes. The interior is like a stepping into a jeweled reliquary.
Our first performance at the Teatro Regio di Parma will be Il Trovatore. A turbulent tale of witchcraft, murder, and vengeance.
Friday 13th October
For those who wish we will set off early to visit a Parmigiano cheese dairy on the outskirt of town to discover the secrets behind this invaluable cheese. We will see the cheese masters at work and learn the ancient traditions of processing the milk. There will also be a chance to taste and buy the parmesan. We will drive on to Fontanellato and visit the magnificent castle surrounded by a moat, Rocca Sanvitale where we can see some truly beautiful frescoes by Parmigianino.
We will have lunch in the historic centre before returning to Parma early afternoon. We will then visit the Convent of San Paolo, here Correggio painted the refectory ceiling of the Abbess to represent a delightful pergola pierced with oculi through which cherubs and hunting dogs look down upon the observer. Diana, goddess of hunting, rides her chariot across the fireplace. The Abbess was an intriguing character and her convent was rumored to be rather lax.
A relaxed dinner at an excellent restaurant.
For those who wish, there will be an option to see the show El Trovador by Marco Baliani at the Teatro Regio di Parma
Saturday 14th October
In the morning we will have an exciting private tour of the Teatro Regio di Parma, this will include a visit to the costume department, set design and backstage. We will then visit the house of Arturo Toscanini, a charming museum full of interesting pictures and artifacts from the great conductor’s life.
After lunch there will be some free time for shopping or further exploring of the various museums and churches. Tutors will be on hand with suggestions.
In the evening we will see Falstaff at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi di Busseto. This farcical comedy follows the fall of Sir John Falstaff – also known as “il Pancione” (potbelly), as he scrambles for a way to pay off his debts. He concocts a plan that involves seducing two married women and taking their money, however, it isn’t long before they discover his true intentions. We will travel by private coach.
Sunday 15th October
In the morning we will visit the National Art Gallery of Parma to search out the city’s other famous son, Parmigianino. The gallery is also home to other great masters including Sebastiano del Piombo, Guercino and Leonardo. Not only does the gallery boast an excellent collection but it is also a feat of museum design. One last surprise of the day is the majestic wooden Farnese Theatre.
After an early lunch we will attend I Lombardi alle Prima Crociata at the Teatro Regio di Parma in the afternoon which explores the themes of conflict, mercy, and redemption. This opera follows the destruction caused when two brothers, Pagano and Arvino, love the same woman, Viclinda. We will finish the day with an excellent dinner nearby.
Monday 16th October
After breakfast our coach will take us to the medieval town of Modena where we will spend the morning. We will first see San Francesco, where we can find the work of a local terracotta master of great skill, the little known Antonio Begarelli. We will search out his life-size scene of the Deposition which fills an entire chapel and cannot fail to impress. We will then visit the most remarkably preserved Romanesque Cathedral. It is no surprise that this is a World Heritage Site due to the amount of exquisite treasures within.
We will finish with a light lunch in the heart of the town before our coach takes us to Bologna airport for the flight home.
The trip will be led by Charlie Winton and Dr Frankie Dytor. Charlie has lived in Italy and knows and loves Parma well. Frankie is a keen pianist and singer. She was a choral scholar at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, releasing a CD with the Baroque group Orpheus Britannicus in 2017. She has now returned to Cambridge to research 19th century European cultural history.
We will stay in The Palazzo dalla Rosa Prati which is on the edge of the medieval Piazza Duomo. The Teatro Reggio di Parma is within easy walking distance. There is also the opportunity for two friends to share a two-room apartment within the palazzo avoiding the single occupancy supplement.
Parma Verdi Festival
Important – Please visit their website for more details and look at the link to the ticket order form below for the prices. Please note your first choice of seats may not be available. It is essential you let me know your choices as soon as possible as I am able to request tickets before booking goes online on 28th March and after that date there will be few seats remaining. I have included four performances, but please feel free to choose as many or as few as you would like.
We will organise an early supper for those going to the operas and one tutor will be around each evening to book dinner for those who would like to eat later if they are not going to the festival. We will divide the dinner bill equally between the group.
We will travel in comfort in a private coach. Busseto is 45 minutes’ drive from Parma and so we will arrive back at the hotel late on Saturday night.
There will be a quite a bit of walking on this trip. As is the case for all our courses, there is a lot of standing while we discuss the works we are looking at.
The fees are £1850 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, parmesan cheese tasting, entrance fees, tuition, reading lists and local advice. The single occupancy supplement is £220 (double room for single use). Please let me know if you would like to share an apartment. Not included are the evening performances ( see order form), flights, suppers and travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people.
We do not book the flights thus allowing you to travel to suit your budget, use airmiles, travel between different airports or on different dates. The recommend flights are with British Airways:
12th October London Heathrow 07.40 – 10.50 Bologna BA0540
16th October Bologna 18.35 – 19.50 London Heathrow BA0545
Please complete the online application form and pay a deposit of £600.00. Please call 01379 871800 or email [email protected] if you have any queries.
NB you must buy your own flights.