For the past seven years, an annual autumn opera film holiday (Opera in the Cotswolds) of 4 nights/3 days has been held in Cirencester. In 2017, new and excellent film screening facilities became available to Bijou Opera in Cheltenham and the decision was taken to refresh this holiday, as described below.
Summer Opera Festival
Saturday 19th to Monday 21st August 2017
The first annual Summer Opera Festival will held in Cheltenham, with opera films being shown at the Stanton Suite, Church Piece, Charlton Kings. The event will run for 3 days (19 - 21 Aug. 2017). Convenient hotel accommodation is being provided for those travelling from away and local members will be welcome to attend the opera screening, according to their preferences. Bookings for the three operas (and lunch on Sunday 20th Aug.) will commence in June.
The three operas to be shown are described below:
Saturday 19th August, 2.30pm
I Lombardi, Verdi. This historic La Scala, Milan production dates from 1984 and stars a young and virile José Carreras in his prime, matched with the soprano Ghena Dimitrova in this dramatic and powerful work from early in the composer’s career.
Sunday 20th August, 2.30pm
There will be the option of Sunday Lunch at The Merryfellow Inn, Charlton Kings, followed by the second opera film:
La Boheme, Puccini. Also from La Scala, but from over 50 years ago (1965) this is a truly classic production by that master of stage and screen, Franco Zeffirelli, matched by the equally renowned conductor Herbert von Karajan. A youthful Mirella Freni takes the lead as Mimi and while the other cast members names have faded over time, they all deliver excellent performances.
Monday 21st August, 10.00am
Don Giovanni, Mozart. This particular production is considered to be a definitive version of this opera. An ROH production from 1988, it stars Thomas Allen as the aristocratic and devious Don, with an outstanding cast of Stafford Dean (Leporello) Stuart Burrows (Don Ottavio) and Kiri Te Kanawa (Donna Anna). This will be a unique opportunity, as this has never been released commercially on DVD.
Attendance at a single screening will be £12.00 p.p.
For two screenings, the discounted price will be £22.00 p.p. For all three, a special price of £30.00 p.p.
Sunday lunch at The Merryfellow Inn will be £15.00 p.p.
Started in 2013, a group holiday to a popular European destination has been organised and run by Bijou, usually in May each year. So far, these have been centred on Vienna (twice), Tuscany and Venice. Everything is done to make each holiday comfortable and easy, starting with private coach travel from Cheltenham and Cirencester to the airport (or airport hotel) and back. The holiday hotel is always of a high standard and there are included excursions by coach to places of interest. The duration of the holiday is typically 7 nights with one or two days left free for independent exploration. Suggestions are provided for places to visit and things to see. A live opera (or operetta) performance may be offered but is usually an optional extra, for those happy to pay the price!
The Magical Moselle
Sunday 7th to Sunday 14th May 2017 (7 nights)
£1,285.00 per person (sharing) single supplement £150.00
This will be our fifth annual Bijou Holiday into Europe, with all excursions included in the price. We offer you a really attractive and relaxing holiday with a maximum of sightseeing and a minimum of walking.
Unlike all our previous holidays which were to well known tourist centres, this area has escaped the attention of most British tour operators. Bernkastel where we are staying is a delightful little town, with cobbled streets and quaint timbered buildings, set on one side of the Moselle river, with Kues on the opposite bank. Along the entire length of the Moselle (from Trier to Koblenz) the river meanders around endless bends, with sloping hillsides covered in vineyards or woodland and a ruined castle on every hilltop! There are pretty wine producing villages along the length of the river and the whole area is gently charming. We have designed this holiday to show you as much as possible of this beautiful river, primarily cruising and have also included one day on the Rhine, specifically the best part of the dramatic Gorge section including the Lorelei Rock. Finally we can add that there will be no long or extended walks! For example, our hotel is only around 150 yds, from the boat sailing point.
Sunday 7th (Cheltenham/Cirencester) – Gatwick – Bernkastel
There will be private coach transport (an additional charge) from our home in Cheltenham leaving in the morning for Gatwick Airport. There, those travelling from elsewhere in the UK will join and complete our party. We have a short afternoon flight to Luxembourg, where we will join our private coach for the journey to our hotel in Bernkastel, arriving early evening in time for dinner. We have selected the Hotel Doctor Weinstube (3☆), which, following a personal visit there, is in our view, the best in the town. It combines traditionally designed and decorated public rooms with very modern en-suite bedrooms, beautifully appointed bathrooms and an excellent restaurant. There is a lift to all floors.
Monday 8th – Bernkastel-Kues
Our first full day is a quiet one, with time to gently stroll around this quaint small town with its ancient timbered buildings and interesting shops (no chain stores here!). Later in the morning, we will take the road train for a round trip through Bernkastel and Kues, up into the vineyards. There is a commentary in English. Late that afternoon we are offering (as an optional extra for a small charge) a Moselle wine tasting at a local weinstube, where the owner is a good friend of ours, so you can be sure of some excellent wines and a very warm welcome.
Tuesday 9th – Traben-Trarbach
Mid morning we will take a day river cruise downstream to Traben-Trarbach, a journey of 2+ hours. We will dock at Trarbach, for a lunch break, returning on the same cruise boat to Bernkastel in the afternoon. The boat is well appointed with an open but canopied promenade deck and a closed main deck with a panoramic lounge, plus bar service and toilets. The journey will give you an opportunity to see some of the beautiful river views and hillsides covered in vineyards.
Wednesday 10th – Cochem & Beilstein
We travel by coach to see the lower Moselle area and visit Cochem (the main town). After a short refreshment break, we will be taken by private minibus transport high up to the Reichbourg Castle. We will have our own guided tour in English and then be taken back to the town centre. After a stop for some lunch and time to look around, we will board another boat for a sailing upstream to the charming wine village of Beilstein. After a short visit there, we will rejoin our coach for the journey back to our hotel.
Thursday 11th – Trier
By coach up river to the historic Roman city of Trier. There we will take the roadtrain for a sightseeing round trip. There will then be time for a lunch break and an opportunity to look around independently. The Roman Porta Negra is well worth a close look (see photo). Early afternoon we rejoin our coach for the short journey to the quayside for a round trip boat journey to see this part of the upper Moselle. By coach back to our hotel.
Friday 12th – Boppard (Rhine)
By coach to Bacharach where we join a Rhine river cruise, sailing for some 2 hours through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, including the famous Loreli Rock, leaving the boat at Boppard. A light lunch has been arranged at a riverside cafe, after which there is a little time to look around, before we walk to the railway station. There we take a short but spectacular train ride up the side of the Rhine Gorge to Emmelshausen where our coach will meet us for the return to our hotel.
Saturday 13th – Bernkastel, Landshut Castle
Our last day is largely free but includes one short excursion, by bus up to the ruined Landshut Castle, with its stunning views over Bernkastel- Kues and the Moselle. Late that afternoon we are offering (as an optional extra for a small charge) a further Moselle wine tasting at our hotel of the famous Bernkastel Doctor range.
Sunday 14th – Bernkastel – Gatwick – Cirencester/Cheltenham
In the early afternoon, we will travel by coach to Luxembourg Airport, join our flight back to Gatwick, arriving at 6.00pm. There will be private coach transport for those going to Cheltenham/Cirencester, arriving home mid evening.