18425
Germany/Czech Republic/Austria
Great Composers of Europe
Deepen your appreciation of Europe’s greatest composers—Mozart, Haydn, Dvorak and more —as you explore the cities that inspired them and hear their music at historic and notable venues.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 18425RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
4,159
Flights start at
1,050
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15 days
14 nights
32 meals
13 B 9 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Vienna
D
Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: 4:00 PM orientation. Your Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We begin getting to know Austria’s capital city on a motorcoach excursion with commentary along the "Ringstrasse" -- the circular boulevard where city walls once stood around the Innere Stadt (Inner City). In 1857, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the demolition of Vienna's medieval fortifications and ramparts to make room for expansion. The resulting magnificent boulevard, officially opened in 1865, was soon lined with mansions of the nobility and wealthy as well as important political and cultural institutions such as the Hofburg (royal palace), Parliament and Town Hall, the prestigious State Opera and Burgtheater, the University and the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the leading museums in the world. Today it recalls the glory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Dinner: For our welcome dinner, enjoy a buffet featuring regional cuisine plus a complimentary beverage. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a three-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants and get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
3
Introduction to Cultural Vienna
Vienna
B,L,D
Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: A local expert provides an introduction to the history of cultural Vienna during a lecture. Vienna was the capital of the powerful Hapsburg Empire that reached far into the Pannonian plain in the East and into the Balkan countries in the South. For centuries, this was the cultural center of Central Europe, home to arts and artists, great composers, and the birthplace of their music. An expert-led walking field trip through the city center takes us in Mozart's footsteps as we pass St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Figaro House, so called because it was where Mozart composed one of his most famous operas, “The Marriage of Figaro,” while he and his family lived here from 1784-87. It is the most elegant apartment Mozart ever occupied and the only one still intact today-- something to consider for free time.

Lunch: Enjoy an authentic taste of Vienna in the city’s most famous coffeehouse, the splendid Café Central, part of the Palais Ferstel that once housed the Vienna Stock Exchange and the Austro-Hungarian central bank. A Viennese institution since 1876, the Café was a meeting point for important figures in the arts, literature, politics and science from all over Europe. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program are typically a two-course or three-course set menu.

Afternoon: During a field trip to the Central Cemetery, resting place of famous composers and other Viennese notables, we will see some of their tombs and monuments. In addition to the Catholic section there is a Jewish cemetery. Although the cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht, around 60,000 graves still remain intact. Prominent burials here include those of the Rothschild family and author Arthur Schnitzler. We also admire the cemetery church built by Max Hegele, protegé of Jugendstil architect Otto Wagner.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: As a very special highlight, musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic or State Opera orchestra will give a private concert for our group, performing works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

DAY
4
Musical Mass, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, Free Evening
Vienna
B,L
Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: This morning you have an opportunity to attend mass at the renowned Jesuit Church (also known as the University Church) in the heart of old Vienna. The restrained exterior is in marked contrast to the highly decorated Baroque interior. Music is an integral part of the service with mass settings by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and more. This is not a standard tourist stop. The music-loving Viennese come early to get the best seats.

Lunch: We will eat out at a traditional Viennese restaurant.

Afternoon: In the late afternoon, a local expert will give a lecture on Mozart, Schubert, and Strauss. Learn more about the very diverse lives of three of Vienna's best loved composers. Wolfgang Amadé Mozart -- the name he called himself -- achieved renown as a child prodigy, brilliant young pianist, and composer, but struggled financially later and suffered from a variety of illnesses. Franz Schubert, whom we revere today for his masterful songs, symphonies, masses, and chamber music, was relatively unrecognized outside his own circle of friends and colleagues. Johann Strauss (the Elder), however, was a leading conductor, composer of popular dance music, and one of the first international superstars of music. The presentation will be enhanced by hearing a delightful selection of works by all three composers.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure. If you wish to attend an opera performance or concert on your own, we highly recommend that you order tickets in advance. Please refer to the Pre-Book Optional Performances page in the Information Packet for additional information and instructions.

DAY
5
Field Trip to Eisenstadt, Home of Franz Joseph Haydn, Free Evening
Vienna
B,L,D
Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Departing Vienna via motorcoach, we begin our full day field trip with an expert-led walk through Eisenstadt. Its Baroque houses along the Haydn Path and the Jewish Quarter lead to the Esterházy Palace, one of the most beautiful in all of Austria. This was the seat of the princely Esterházy family of Hungary. It was here that Franz Joseph Haydn, one of the greatest composers of the Classical age, worked for decades attached to the Esterházy court beginning in 1761. He wrote volumes of music for the enjoyment of his noble patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. Unusual for the time, Haydn was regarded as much more than a talented servant. The Prince treated him with dignity and rewarded Haydn so well that he was able to purchase his own home in the town where he stayed when not at the palace. The Haydnsaal, once a multi-purpose festival and banquet room, was named in honor of the composer who performed many of his works here. It is considered one the most beautiful and acoustically perfect concert halls in the world.

Lunch: The Haydnbräu Restaurant in Eisenstadt serves authentic regional cuisine.

Afternoon: This afternoon we pay a visit to the Haydn House, where the composer and his wife lived from 1766-78. The museum hosts a carefully compiled collection of paintings, sheet music, and personal items. At the end of the field trip, we will return to Vienna via motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure. If you wish to attend an opera performance or concert on your own, we highly recommend that you order tickets in advance. Please refer to the Pre-Book Optional Performances page in the Information Packet for additional information and instructions.

DAY
6
Vienna Music Institution, Free Time, Wine Heurige
Vienna
B,D
Austria Trend Hotel Lassalle

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depending on seasonal availability, we will have an expert-led field trip to either the Vienna State Opera or Vienna Musikverein with its famous Golden Concert Hall, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and their annual gala New Year's Concert. Then, talk with a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or State Opera.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: We will say farewell to Vienna in a Heurige -- a typical village wine inn -- in the center of town. Enjoy wine of the current vintage and a tasty buffet with local dishes. The dinner may be hosted early if participants wish to attend one of the optional performances. Please refer to the Pre-Book Optional Performances page toward the end of this Information Packet for additional information and instructions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Munich, Free Afternoon in Salzburg
Munich
B,D
Carat Hotel Munich

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After hotel check-out, we board our motorcoach and transfer to Munich. En route, we take time to visit Salzburg and its World Cultural Heritage Old Town. Salzburg was at one time an independent city-state ruled by a Prince-Archbishop and did not become an official part of Austria until 1816. Nestled amid stunning mountain landscapes, this is one of the loveliest cities in Europe. Strict preservations laws protect its architectural heritage with notable structures from the Middle Ages, Romanesque, Baroque, and Renaissance periods as well as elegant classical houses. Beyond physical beauty, Salzburg’s greatest claim to fame is its cultural richness. It was here that Mozart’s professional career began in the employ of the Prince-Archbishop. Today the atmosphere is redolent with the arts, especially world-renowned music festivals, theatre, dance, and literature in addition to local events. Upon arrival have a short orientation walk.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do more of what interests you most. You might wish to visit Mozart's birthplace, now a museum with his musical instruments, portraits painted during his lifetime, family letters, and other memorabilia.

Dinner: Early dinner at St. Peter's, a restaurant that dates back to 800.

Evening: Depart Salzburg and arrive at our hotel in Munich in the evening. Check-in to the hotel.

DAY
8
Discovering Munich As A European Cultural Center, Free Evening
Munich
B,L,D
Carat Hotel Munich

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Learn from a local expert about Munich as a center of European culture and music. In the 16th century the House of Wittelsbach -- Bavarian royal family and dynasty -- began an ambitious cultural development policy, sending agents to engage leading artists, composers, and musicians, especially those in Italy. Munich has remained a magnet for the arts ever since, attracting an endless stream of renowned artists and performers to Bavaria’s capital city. Following our lecture, we will have a motorcoach excursion with commentary to see how the Wittelsbach legacy is alive as we drive along museums, the Opera House, the Philharmonic, and much more.

Lunch: We will have lunch out at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continuing our exploration of Munich, we will take an expert-led walking field trip through the heart of the old city surrounding the Marienplatz, dating from the 12th Century.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure. If you wish to attend an opera performance or concert on your own, we highly recommend that you order tickets in advance. Please refer to the Pre-Book Optional Performances page in the Information Packet for additional information and instructions.

DAY
9
Richard Wagner & Richard Strauss, Residenz Field Trip
Munich
B,L
Carat Hotel Munich

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Learn about two of the greatest composers with ties to Munich, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Wagner might not have become the most famous composer of his day had it not been for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who rescued him from poverty and established him in Munich. Four of Wagner’s operas had their first performances at the State Opera. Strauss was born in Munich, had his earliest success here, and became a conductor at the Opera before moving on to other triumphs (and controversies), periodically returning to his home town.

Lunch: We will eat out at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Our afternoon field trip takes us to explore the Residenz, a huge palace with several inner courtyards that houses the State Museum, the Treasury and the Cuvilliés Theater. It was the political and cultural center of Dukes, Electors, and Kings of Bavaria from 1508-1918, transformed over centuries into a magnificent complex in which Wittelsbach rulers commissioned the finest artists and artisans to build and decorate palace rooms and structures to display their treasures. The opera house, built from 1751-55, now called the Cuvilliés Theater after its architect, was one of the grandest jewels of Baroque architecture and stage craft. It was bombed during World War II but has been meticulously renovated and restored.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: Attend a concert.

DAY
10
Music & Legacies of Central Europe, Free Afternoon
Munich
B,D
Carat Hotel Munich

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Learn about musical legacies of Central Europe from a local expert with a focus on great Austrian, German, and Czech composers. The masterworks created by these composers are still a major part of the classical repertoire today and an ever-present influence on our perception and appreciation of music; both a rich source of inspiration as well as a challenge to later composers.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local Munich restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. If you wish to attend an opera performance or concert on your own, we highly recommend that you order tickets in advance. Please refer to the Pre-Book Optional Performances page in the Information Packet for additional information and instructions.

DAY
11
Transfer to Prague, Regensburg, Prague Hotel Check-in
Prague
B,L,D
Hotel Petr

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach and depart for Prague, En route, we will stop and explore Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This town on the Danube has been an important trading center since the 9th Century. Regensburg’s old quarter mostly escaped World War II damage and destruction. As “the only authentically preserved large medieval city in Germany,” it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mix of public buildings, private residences, tradesmen's houses, and important churches, convents, and monasteries provides an authentic image of medieval urban culture lost in other parts of Germany.

Lunch: At a Regensburg restaurant.

Afternoon: After arrival in Prague and hotel check-in, you will have some time to freshen up and relax before our general information meeting and orientation to this portion of the program.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet featuring regional cuisine plus a complimentary beverage.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Antonin Dvorak and His Music
Prague
B,L,D
Hotel Petr

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Take a field trip to the Museum of Antonin Dvorak in the Villa America, originally a palace of the noble family Michna built in 1720. In 1932, the Society of Antonin Dvorak converted the space into a museum in Dvorak's honor. We will learn about the life and work of Dvorak from our musical expert. Follow all sources of inspiration that helped to develop his strong personality. From a Czech musician, he became a famous composer of Slavonic, and later international, significance. Special emphasis will be given to his stay in America.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore backstage at the Estates Theatre. Enjoy an expert-led excursion here, one of the most beautiful historic theater buildings in Europe, opened in 1783 and known as a jewel of Neoclassical theatre architecture. It was the venue for the world premiers of two Mozart operas: Don Giovanni (1787) and La Clemenza di Tito (1791). The theater is linked also with such names as Carl Maria von Weber, Niccolo Paganini, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Rubinstein and others. Please note that if technical circumstances in the theatre prevent us from visiting, we will visit the Municipal House instead, including the Town Mayor saloon and Smetana concert hall.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: As a special highlight, we will visit one of the small gothic churches in the Old Town to meet and hear Collegium 419, a vocal ensemble specializing in historically informed performances of music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras (16th-18th centuries). After a presentation on the history and importance of Czech choirs in national culture, we will have an opportunity to talk with the singers, and then attend their concert.

DAY
13
Czech Music
Prague
B,L
Hotel Petr

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: During a field trip to the Museum of Bedrich Smetana, learn about the lives and works of famous composers with Czech roots. Our noted musicologist will discuss Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak, Leos Janacek, Gustav Mahler, and Bohuslav Martinu, among others, as we listen to excerpts from their greatest works. Following the lecture, we will take an expert-led walk through the museum's exhibits.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will explore Prague’s so-called Lesser Town -- a picturesque quarter with monumental palaces and churches. Charles Bridge, one of the oldest extant stone bridges in Europe, is adorned on both sides with a total of thirty Baroque statues. We will continue to the Old Town, a unique part of Prague, where we find the impressive Old Town Square, the center of all events since the Middle Ages. The stone houses, churches, palaces, and monasteries in combination with the twisty narrow streets and alleys create a very intimate atmosphere. With special attention to places connected with great composers of all periods, feel Prague’s musical spirit.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Mozart's Beloved Town, Free Afternoon
Prague
B,L,D
Hotel Petr

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We start the morning excursion in Strahov Monastery and its Basilica of Assumption of Our Lady, founded in 1143. The Baroque church displays the famous organ that W. A. Mozart played on during his visit in 1787. A monk made a note of his music, and today we can admire it in concert halls as Mozart’s Prague Improvisation. Continue to the Prague Castle with a visit to Lobkowicz Palace. Prague Castle is one of the biggest castles in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records it is the largest ancient castle) and dates back to the middle of the 9th century. Czech kings, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of the Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia) have had their offices there.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the Municipal House, the Jewel of Art Nouveau.

Evening: You will spend your last evening in the Art Decco Café accompanied by piano music. Share your experiences from this exciting program with your fellow participants.

DAY
15
Departures
Prague
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the Prague Ruzyne International airport (PRG) for departures. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.