3rd – 7th October 2024

After our last four highly successful trips we are once again attending the Parma Verdi Festival. There will be the opportunity to see La Battaglia di Legnano, Un Ballo in Maschera and Macbeth. The performances will take place in the beautiful Teatro Regio in Parma and the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto. There will also be a Private Concert in the ‘Salotto delle Feste’ for our group at the Fondazione Museo Glauco Lombardi

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.

Itinerary

Thursday 3rd 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 will be a Private Concert in the ‘Salotto delle Feste’ for our group at the Fondazione Museo Glauco Lombardi before a relaxed dinner at an excellent restaurant

Friday 4th 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.

In the evening we will see La Battaglia di Legnano at the Teatro Regio di Parma. Set within the backdrop of the Emperor of Germany’s invasion of Milan in the 12th century, this tragedy in four parts follows two soldiers fight for the defense of their city, and for the affection of the woman they both love.

Saturday 5th 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 we will drive to Busseto to see Un Ballo in Maschera at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi. Combining forbidden love, political strife and conspiracy, this opera is based on the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792, who was killed while attending a masked ball. A particular highlight is an impassioned duet between the King and his best friend’s wife as they discover their mutual feelings. We experience the triumphant joy with them, but only fleetingly. We will return to Parma for dinner.

Sunday 6th 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 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 attend Macbeth in its French Version at the Teatro Regio di Parma.

Monday 7th 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.

Details

Tutors

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.

Hotels

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.
Hotel website

Parma Verdi Festival

Important – Please visit their website for more details and look at the attached sheet 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 towards the end of February and after that date there will be few seats remaining. I have included three performances, but please feel free to choose as many or as few as you would like. It is worth spending the extra for stall tickets or front row central box seats, as the view is very restricted in the old style theatres in any other seat. Please note I have included Busseto but if we are not able to get stall seats the we shall not make the journey as the view will be limited.
Festival website

AHA Opera Ticket Booking Form with Prices

Dinners

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. The bill will be adjusted for those who have not had beer or wine.

Transport

We will travel in comfort in a private coach with air-conditioning. Busseto is 45 minutes’ drive from Parma.

Ability

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.

Cost

The fees are £2100 which includes accommodation and breakfast, all lunches, transfers for the recommended flight, transport when connected with teaching, parmesan cheese tasting, private concert, 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 attached price sheet), flights, suppers and travel insurance. The group will not exceed 16 people.

Flights

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:

3rd October London Heathrow 07.45 – 10.55 Bologna BA0540
7th October Bologna 19:30 – 20.50 London Heathrow BA0545

To register

Please complete the online registration form and pay a deposit of £600 a head by bank transfer. Our bank details will be sent to you once we receive your registration form.

Terms & Conditions

If you have any queries please email charlie@arthistoryabroad or call 01379 871800 (302)

NB you must buy your own flights