Leipzig Opera House
Portrait of Richard Wagner
Portrait c. 1861 after Pierre Petit via Metropolitan Museum of Art
Attend three of Wagner’s most acclaimed works – Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – in the city of his birth
Take a day trip to Dresden, home to the splendid Semper Opera House where Wagner premiered several works
Enjoy the wider musical delights of Leipzig, from the Mendelssohn House Museum to the celebrated Bach-Archiv
"Interesting and varied visits in Leipzig and an excellent day trip to Dresden. Excellent lectures from Sandy Burnett."
ACE customer on previous Wagner in Leipzig tour with Sandy Burnett
Born in 1813 in Leipzig, Richard Wagner undertook much of his musical education in the city, and its myriad of musical offerings left a significant mark on his own development. Indeed, it was while attending Leipzig University that Wagner embarked upon the first of his major compositions, the beginning of a lifelong career that would encompass his majestic Ring as well as numerous other works.
Given his connection with the city, it is hardly surprising that Wagner’s music has come to play an integral role in Leipzig’s operatic calendar; 2022 takes things one step further, however, as the city prepares to present all thirteen of the composer’s operas in the order in which they were written. We are delighted to be able to attend a part of this very special event, taking in three of his most celebrated works: Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Arriving at Leipzig’s stunning opera house, which traces its musical heritage back to the late 17th century, we will take our seats for each of the three performances spread over a five-night period. Our first was composed in Dresden prior to Wagner’s exile to Switzerland: inspired by medieval German romance, layered with tension between the godly and the mundane, we will experience the desperation of Elsa to know the true name of her protector – the Swan Knight Lohengrin – who is doomed to leave her if she asks.
Tristan und Isolde also takes its cue from chivalric romance, however its music – inspired greatly by the philosophy of Schopenhauer – was well ahead of its time, helping to lay the groundwork for much of what was to come in the 20th century.
We end with a change both of tone and of scene: Wagner’s only comedy, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, is a riotous tale of tradition versus innovation wrapped around a simple love story, in a work that truly showcases the composer’s versatility and dramatic genius.
We will be joined for these performances by our Tour Director, musician and broadcaster Sandy Burnett, who will help us to look beyond the surface of these famous works in a series of expert lectures. Sandy will also accompany us on a range of cultural visits, as well as giving us opportunities to explore our surroundings independently.
Leipzig is a treasure trove of musical delights, from a museum dedicated to Mendelssohn’s life and musical career in the city, to one of the most important centres for Bach scholarship in the world. Journeying to Saxony’s capital of Dresden – Wagner’s home for more than twenty years, and where he was working as Kapellmeister when he composed Lohengrin – we will explore the composer’s musical development over time. We will take in the city’s Frauenkirche, a spectacular example of Protestant sacred architecture, in addition to a tour of the Semper Opera House (subject to confirmation), which has staged several Wagnerian premieres including Tannhäuser and The Flying Dutchman.
We stay in the centre of Leipzig at the Seaside Park Hotel, a four-star Art Deco residence situated within easy walking distance of the opera house.
This tour will be led by musician and broadcaster Sandy Burnett, MA. A graduate of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Sandy spent a decade as one of the core team of presenters on BBC Radio 3, where he hosted the breakfast programme, presented live from the Proms and Edinburgh Festival, and interviewed many of the world’s finest musicians. Conducting credits include a complete cycle of Bach cantatas as well as work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre and in London’s West End. As a double bassist he collaborates with many leading musicians from the UK and beyond. He is the author of The Idler Guide to Classical Music, runs an online music Listening Club, and was appointed the Academy of Ancient Music’s Hogwood Fellow for the 2018/19 season.
Included: Return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, performances as described, breakfast, three lunches, three opera plates, one dinner with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not Included: Travel insurance, single room supplement £185.