First, there is the venue: one of the finest surviving Roman amphitheaters, built nearly 2,000 years ago – and lit by a multitude of flickering candles. Then there is the audience, 14,000 strong and buzzing in anticipation of a night utterly beyond the normal run of 21st- century experience. Finally, there are the operas. It may have been designed primarily for violent spectacle, but the arena of Verona has excellent acoustics, and casts give their all in productions famous for their extravagant sets. It all adds up to a magnificent occasion and our four-day tour doubles the pleasure – with back-to-back performances of Turandot and Aida and two guided walks.
The trip begins in our hotel at 5pm, with a talk by our speaker – dramaturg, writer and opera critic Simon Rees. Dinner together at the hotel restaurant.
We start with a guided walking tour of Verona, one of Italy’s most stunningly attractive cities. Among the many highlights are the Gothic church of Sant’Anastasia, and the Roman theatre. A free afternoon allows time for rest or further exploration, before our first opera, Turandot.
We explore two more Verona landmarks, the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore, one of Italy’s most important Romanesque churches, and the Castelvecchio, the castle which now houses a superb art collection. Free afternoon, followed by a lecture, dinner, and our second opera, Aida.
The trip ends at the hotel after breakfast.
From 1989 to 2012, Simon was dramaturg at the Welsh National Opera – with a responsibility for librettos, programme notes, translations, talks and research. Among his collaborations are an opera, Twm Sion Cati, written with Welsh composer Mervyn Burtch, and a piece for a saxophone quartet and spoken voice, The Head of Brass, with Peter Reynolds. His surtitle translations for Wagner's Ring Cycle have been used by Scottish Opera, Opera North, the Mariinsky Opera and other companies. He has published three novels and two volumes of poetry, and is a frequent contributor to Opera, Opera Now, Musical Opinion and Bachtrack.
Dates and prices
12–15 July 2018
£1,095 per person sharing in a double room.
£1,175 for one person in a double room.
Tickets to two opera performances in second sector stalls are included in the price.
Flights are not included.
Accommodation and meals
The hotel: Hotel Italia, Verona (3 star).
Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).
There will be a fair amount of walking and standing around when we explore the city during the day. Coach transfers from and to the hotel will be provided for the excursions during the day and opera performances in the evening.
Joining and leaving the trip
Flight and trains are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. British Airways and EasyJet fly directly from London Gatwick to Valerio Catullo di Verona Villafranca Airport, Ryanair flies from London Stansted. Verona is also well connected by rail, with direct trains from Venice, Milan and Bologna. From the airport, you can take a taxi or the Aerobus to Verona Porta Nuova railway station. Tickets can be purchased online.
From the station, you will reach the hotel by taxi or bus (lines 21, 22, 23, 24, 41 stop Piazzale Aristide Stefani or lines 31, 32, 33 stop Via Mameli 92 II). Please note CTC does not arrange international or domestic travel.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Maximum group size
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.