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News & Reviews

We'll bring you reviews and previews from time to time. And we'd love to hear from you with your tales and experiences from around the world. Every month there will be a prize for the best contribution! Just click on 'Submit your review' and send us your feedback.

Showing 1-7 of 113 results
Bella Serenissima !
Wonderful weekend at La Fenice
R & S H from Bath

Dear Andrew,
A short note from us... to thank you for organising our trip this last weekend to Venice.
All went very well and the weather was kind to allow lots of walking.  Thanks for such excellent organisation as always.

One note for your files and future Venice visitors.  The changeover days for the (many) Cruise Boats in Venice are Saturday and Sunday.  The Airport is packed with thousands of extra visitors leaving for long haul especially to the US and Asia. Queues for both security and passport control are long.  It was not possible to get anything to eat etc. Your clients would probably be wise to avoid Saturdays and Sundays in the Cruising season.   The Airport made excellent efforts with extra helpful staff, but tens of thousands of extra passengers are a bit beyond its capacity.
We and ....  ourselves are thinking of further Opera ventures in the fairly near future.

 

Arena di Verona
A fabulous experience
SH & PD - Surrey

Hi Jeanette,

This is just a note to thank you for an incredible weekend in Verona. The hotel was comfortable and quiet and the service very good.  The opera and our seats in particular exceeded expectations – it was a tremendous spectacle and the singing was good too.

The travel even on a bank holiday worked very smoothly including all the transfers.

The only minor criticism I have is that members of the audience would keep on using flash photography during the operas – not so much for Tosca but an awful lot for Aida and I think the organisers could have done more to stop this with more announcements etc but this is just a minor quibble and wouldn’t deter me from either going again or recommending Verona to a friend.

Italian Trio
Puccini's splendid music in lovely surroundings
BN & KU - Forfar

Dear Andrew,
We had a wonderful time with a terrific Tosca, tremendous Turandot but, alas, a disappointing Boheme, especially Mimi who was poor. Only  a couple of very brief rain interruptions so very lucky!

Your arrangements were excellent. Splendid Hotel, very good seats and transportation fine albeit perhaps car - as from airport - might have been better than coach and car so worth at least offering such an alternative?

We were ambitious doing 3 operas in successive evenings and in future would do alternative days as 3 such late nights - around 3a.m. - a bit beyond my stamina these days! Would depend on programme I imagine so please advise details for 2018 as soon as released.

We met many delightful people of many nationalities and discovered a local connection in Lucca. As a result accommodation may be privately secured  - can you do a package excluding accommodation?

Thanks again for your exemplary services.

Italian Summer
Two-centre Puccini & Florence
JM - London

Dear Andrew, 

I hope you are well. A note to thank you for the seamless and excellent trip you arranged for me.

The hotel's were both great - especially the one In Florence.

Perfect position for exploring, given the very high temperatures.

The opera seats you chose were excellent.

And all your carefully planned logistics/tickets etc. worked like clockwork.

A class act!

Best wishes and thanks.

New York, New York...
Magical Renée Fleming
A & M W, Glasgow

Dear Mr. Blair,
All the arrangements worked perfectly, and we really appreciated being able to take an opera break in New York and have all the details worked out for us. In particular it was very good to have the airport transfers sorted out, so that we didn’t have to worry about getting from JFK to Manhattan.
The visits to the Met were truly memorable, especially seeing Renee Fleming in Der Rosenkavalier, an experience we will remember for a long time.
The only thing I’d want to comment on was the hotel. It was ideally positioned, and generally satisfactory (though having a room overlooking the internal well was unfortunate), but we were annoyed by the compulsory facility fee - $124 plus tax for what, for us, amounted to free WiFi and somewhere to leave luggage on the last day seems excessive. Is this normal for New York hotels? My only other experience of the city was going there for a conference, when someone else paid the bill!

But a small blip on what was otherwise an amazing and memorable trip. Many thanks for your service - we hope to use it again soon.

Best wishes

Opera at Teatro La Fenice & Teatro Malibran
G & M, Edinburgh

Dear Mr Blair,

Many thanks for your letter of 30th April.  We did indeed have a wonderful time in Venice, and I am glad to be able to give you positive feedback.

The journeys in each direction by EasyJet were comfortable and on time - indeed the return journey arrived about 20 minutes early.  The speedy-boarding facility was helpful; our seats in Row 2 were well situated; the flight staff were efficient and pleasant and (against all expectation) the available onboard meals were tasty and good value!

The transport from airport to hotel was efficient, and the drivers helpful and pleasant.  The transfer from taxi to boat was excellent.  On the return journey the water-taxi had to berth a short distance from the hotel because of the low tide, but the hotel porter made sure that all was well for us.

The hotel was excellently situated, particularly for La Fenice, just two minutes walk away.  We quickly realised that we would reach just about any point in central Venice by walking.  We easily found the route to the Teatro Malibran where the second opera was performed. 

The hotel was very comfortable, and the staff at all levels were pleasant and helpful;  the breakfasts, included in our package, were excellent;  the hotel restaurant and bar had a good atmosphere, and the whole area was replete with reasonably priced (having regard to the devalued pound sterling) cafés and restaurants. 

Our only qualification is that our room was not as warm as we would have liked, the reason being (I understand) because the heating part of the air conditioning had been shut off for the season while the weather itself was unseasonably cool.  We were in fact provided with an extra blanket which kept us cosy at night.  In compensation (as it were) our room was on the third floor with excellent views across the city including the campanile in St Mark’s Square.  We would not wish to fault the hotel for the idiosyncrasies of the weather;  and I would add that the public areas were well heated.

The performance of Lucia di Lammermoor was quite outstanding.  The whole cast and chorus was of high quality, the production and orchestra excellent, but it was the singing and performance of Nadine Sierra as Lucia that certainly exceeded our highest expectations (to use your words). 

The Teatro Malibran, for Giulietta e Romeo on the Saturday, has a pleasurable atmosphere although less splendid than La Fenice.  The opera itself, when not spreading out into the auditorium, was performed on a small projecting stage with minimal sets, while the orchestra performed in the commodious regions beyond the proscenium arch.  This worked very well.  The cast was youthful and the whole production was thoroughly enjoyable.  The walk from and to the hotel through the maze of still-bustling streets of Venice complemented an excellent and enjoyable performance of an opera which has considerable merit.

The weather was, for us Scots, very pleasant.  There were sunny periods, though mostly cloudy and dry, apart from just one memorable shower of rain.

I hope this feedback is helpful and reassuring.  We look forward to the contrast of Regent cruise and Barcelona, which is now just over a month away!

With many thanks and best wishes,

2017-18 Opera Guide
2017-18 Opera Guide
Opera in Style Opera Short Breaks Guide 2017/18