Spain: March 25 - April 4, 2019
The opera season in Spain always reaches a crescendo in the early spring, when the Mediterranean sun warms the southern cities of the Iberian Peninsula far sooner than most travelers realize. To take advantage of the stellar opera performances, it is necessary to embrace several cities during a compact period, as the theatres usually offer only a single opera at a time. For our return visit in 2019, we have found an irresistible program embracing the Andalusian capital of Seville (3 nights), the Levante capital of Valencia (3 nights), and the Catalan capital of Barcelona (3 nights). Our travelers should not be intimidated by the fear of March weather, as both Barcelona and Valencia benefit from the mild Mediterranean climate, while Seville enjoys Spain’s most southern location. Average temperatures are expected to be in the 60’s, and we have enjoyed ample sunshine on our recent pre-spring visits.
Our itinerary will begin with the romantic Andalusian capital of Seville, where the Moorish influence is evidenced in many of the quiet neighborhoods and will be felt immediately in the architecture of our deluxe Hotel Alfonso XIII. A major production of Verdi’s melodic Il Trovatore will be staged in the Teatro de la Maestranza, featuring the MET’s Angela Meade as Leonora opposite tenor Piero Pretti as the Troubadour. And after too long a hiatus, a full-day excursion will enable us to return to the extraordinary Alhambra in Granada, which is within comfortable striking-distance of Seville. The Alhambra is renowned throughout the world as one of Europe’s incomparable highlights.
Our second city will be Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city and the capital of the Levante. The nation’s newest major performing arts center is the Palau de les Arts, “a majestic building designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, endowed with the finest infrastructure available, especially in the areas of opera and large-scale musical performances.” (www.cac.es/palau). Set at the mouth of the Turia River, Valencia is an important Mediterranean port and a flourishing cosmopolitan center. Valencia’s unique Ciudad de las Arts i les Ciències is a futuristic complex of resplendent buildings which attracts students and travelers from all over the world. Our performance in the breathtaking opera house will be Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, formerly regarded as a rarity but now recognized as one of his finest works. This will be the Mariinsky Theatre’s authentic Russian production on loan from St. Petersburg, with Lianna Haroutounian in the title role. Our dates also coincide with the Tenth Anniversary Concert of the city’s Placido Domingo Centre, when Domingo himself will conduct the Orquesta de Valencia and some of the Centre’s most important young voices and in a program of opera highlights.
Our Spanish immersion will culminate in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, which celebrated the 150th birthday of their beloved native son Antonio Gaudí in 2002. A sightseeing excursion will focus on the fanciful ‘art nouveau’ architecture accounting for Gaudí’s reputation as both a genius and a Catholic saint during the early 1900’s – a body of work which can only be appreciated by visiting Barcelona. We are fortunate to include the premiere of La Gioconda, Amilcare Ponchielli’s grandiose Italian melodrama not often encountered today due to staging and casting requirements. Iréne Theorin, Dolora Zajick, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo and Brian Jagde head the international roster. Of equal importance, a choral concert of Bach’s St. John Passion will take us into the astonishing Palau de la Musica, a colorful landmark of the ‘art nouveau’ style.
Our carefully chosen hotels will be the celebrated Alfonso XIII in Seville, the centrally located Meliá Plaza in Valencia, and the elegant 1898 Hotel in Barcelona. March is a refreshingly uncrowded month to enjoy Spain’s rich museums and imaginative restaurants.
Prices Per Person (Air Fare not Included)
Double Occupancy: $6,350
Single Occupancy: $7,330