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  • Vienna Opera House

  • A performance at the Musikverein

    Image by Geolina163 on Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 4.0

  • Baubles on a Christmas market stall

    Photo by Alisa Anton via Unsplash

  • The Wiener Musikverein

  • Interior of the State Opera House

    Image by C1815 on Wikimedia Commons via public domain

  • View of the Bristol Hotel (right) with the State Opera House (left) in the foreground.

    © Hotel Bristol

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Attend three spectacular performances – Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Massenet’s Manon (featuring Vittorio Grigolo) and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (featuring Pretty Yende) – in Vienna’s State Opera House

  • Relish the playing of the Staatskapelle Dresden and acclaimed violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann in the city’s glittering Musikverein

  • Stay at the five-star Hotel Bristol, located just a few minutes’ walk from our music venues and bursting with historical charm

“Excellent – I think we got as much out of Vienna as we could in five days”

“It was an excellent five day tour. The arrangements before the tour took place were exceptional”

– ACE customers on the 2023 Opera in Vienna tour with Richard Wigmore

“Vienna is a handsome, lively city, and pleases me exceedingly” – Frédéric Chopin


Vienna has inspired more music than any other city. Rich in history, culture and romance, it was the capital of a vast multi-ethnic empire for several hundred years. Many of the world’s most celebrated composers lived and created works of musical genius among the city’s glorious surroundings.


Our winter tour to Vienna offers performances based in the city’s opera house, which enjoys a famous heritage all of its own: Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth attended the inauguration of ‘Vienna Court Opera’ in 1869, and in the 20th century the site underwent extensive restoration following bombardment during WWII. Over the years ‘Vienna State Opera’ – as it became known – developed rewarding relationships with composers including Gustav Mahler and Herbert von Karajan, and today’s visitors appreciate a uniquely historical yet forward-looking atmosphere.


We are delighted this year to be attending a total of three major operatic productions at the State Opera House, performed by superb casts alongside the internationally acclaimed Vienna Philharmonic. We begin with Puccini’s beautiful Madama Butterfly, which draws on Japanese folk melodies to tell the title character’s tragic story as she dedicates herself to marriage with an American naval officer, with devastating consequences. This production is based on an original staging by Anthony Minghella, with updated direction and choreography from the award-winning Carolyn Choa, and will feature Marina Rebeka in the title role.


Providing a lighter counterpoint is Donizetti’s sparkling comic opera Don Pasquale, featuring internationally acclaimed South African soprano Pretty Yende as Norina, who runs rings around her new ‘husband’ to hilarious effect. We end with Massenet’s Manon, in a production that moves the action from the 18th century into the 1930s to accentuate the opera’s rich melting pot of characters; among the excellent cast are Kristina Mkhitaryan as Manon and Vittorio Grigolo as Le Chevalier Des Grieux.


Beyond the operas themselves, our tour also offers an additional performance at the Musikverein featuring the Staatskapelle Dresden alongside one of the most highly acclaimed violinists in the world, Frank Peter Zimmermann, who will bring us works by Robert Schumann.


Complementing the performances, daytime visits will take in musical sites including the Mozarthaus, Beethoven Museum and Schubert Museum, as well as Vienna’s architectural and artistic treasures from the sweeping Ringstrasse to the Upper Belvedere, which houses masterpieces by Klimt, van Gogh and many others.


There will also be an opportunity to experience the delights of Vienna’s celebrated Christmas markets, temporary wonderlands whose presence in the city dates back to the Middle Ages. The markets are due to begin midway through our tour and we hope to include some free time to explore their famously delightful stalls. Finally, subject to scheduling, we hope to include a guided tour of the Musikverein, offering ‘behind the scenes’ insights into the history, architecture and operation of this world famous concert hall.


The group will stay throughout at the glorious five-star Hotel Bristol, based in a beautiful historical Art Deco building originally opened in 1892. With elegant, classically decorated rooms, the hotel is situated next to Vienna State Opera and is a five minute walk from the Musikverein.


This tour will be led by Richard Wigmore, MA, AGSM, a writer, broadcaster, lecturer and former professional singer. In addition to leading tours for ACE, Richard frequently appears on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review and contributes to Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine among other journals.


Tour Director Richard Wigmore writes:


“Amid the holiday atmosphere I'm looking forward to hearing three favourite operas at the Staatsoper, with the famed Vienna Philharmonic in the orchestral pit. After the heart-stopping tragedy of Madama Butterfly, Donizetti's Don Pasquale promises scintillating comic relief. I'm also relishing the prospect of the Dresden Staatskapelle, one of Europe's oldest and classiest orchestras, and star violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann in works by Robert Schumann – a perfect match between composer and orchestra.”

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a classic twin or double bedded room, performances as described, five breakfasts, one lunch, four dinners with a glass of wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, classic double room for single use supplement £575.

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