Statue of Verdi in Busseto
Statue of Verdi
Enjoy four superb performances, including new productions of Un Ballo in Maschera and Macbeth
Discover two less frequently performed dramatic works – La Battaglia di Legnano and Attila
Learn more about Verdi’s life with a visit to his birthplace in Le Roncole, and sample one of Italy’s most highly prized food exports at a traditional Culatello cellar
“Sandy was very knowledgeable and able to communicate to all in a friendly and accessible way”
- ACE customer on a 2023 tour led by Sandy Burnett
Over twenty years ago, the city of Parma inaugurated an annual festival to honour its most famous local son, Giuseppe Verdi. The festival, which starts at the end of September and continues throughout October (the month of Verdi’s birth), features a range of the composer’s operatic works, both well known and less commonly encountered; it has since become one of the most important showcases of the composer’s music in the world. Today, there is no better place to enjoy Verdi’s magnificent repertoire, and reflect on his life and the surroundings that inspired him, while also appreciating the region’s rich local culture and gastronomy.
Our tour will incorporate no fewer than four specially selected operas from the 2024 programme, allowing us to sample both the diversity of the composer’s output and his musical development over time. Macbeth – written as the Verdi’s star was rising and a reflection of his lifelong admiration for Shakespeare – will provide us with a fitting final night, brimming with theatricality and stirring musical moments, from the Witches’ Chorus to Lady Macbeth’s disturbing sleepwalking scene. It is presented here in its French version, first performed in Paris in 1965.
A couple of years after Macbeth, Verdi wrote La Battaglia di Legnano, which premiered in Rome to fervent popular acclaim – so much so that its famous final act was often encored in full. While the opera is less frequently performed today, it is often praised for its orchestration, epic scale and climactic final scene; moreover, it remains a fascinating reflection of Verdi’s purposes at a time when Italy was experiencing great turbulence and a rise in nationalistic feeling.
Our penultimate night brings us another favourite, Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball), in which rousing choruses and gripping arias tell the story of a troubled ruler, torn between love and conscience, and the conspirators who plot his assassination – all building to the dramatic final ball scene. This opera will take place at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto, not far from where the composer once lived.
We are particularly delighted to be including a special concert performance of Attila on our first night. Performed just twice over the course of the 2024 festival, it will allow us to experience one of Verdi’s earlier works – written just before Macbeth – whose sweeping score, often the subject of criticism, nevertheless contains moments of dramatic excellence and atmosphere, providing a foretaste of operas to come.
As a counterpoint to these four dramatic works, our days will be spent relaxing and getting to know the musical and cultural treasures of the region. We particularly look forward to visiting Verdi’s birthplace in Le Roncole, and sampling one of Parma’s most famous and highly praised exports – Culatello di Zibello – at a traditional cellar.
We will stay throughout at the four-star Starhotels du Parc, a beautiful establishment with Art Deco influences, located near the tree-lined avenues of the Parco Ducale, and within walking distance of the Teatro Regio.
This tour will be led by Sandy Burnett, MA, a musician and broadcaster who spent a decade as one of the core team of presenters on BBC Radio 3, during which time he interviewed many of the world’s finest musicians. Conducting credits have included a complete cycle of Bach cantatas as well as work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre and in London’s West End where he spent many years as a musical director. Sandy is very much looking forward to introducing a new ACE group to this magnificent festival in 2024.
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a superior twin or double bedded room, performances as described (category one tickets), five breakfasts, two lunches, four dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, superior double room for single use supplement £525.