December 2019


  • DBS18 Old_Government_House_Parramatta
  • dbs18 doyles watsons bay
  • DBS18 Barenboim

One Weekend – Five great performances in Sydney

Five great performances?? What are they?

1.Simone Young’s international reputation is undisputed, and her appearances in Sydney are to be treasured and celebrated. This time she presents Gustav Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied (Song of Lamentation), a cantata in three movements, that was commenced while Mahler was still a student in Vienna. Possibly based on a fairy tale of the same name, it subsequently went through a number of revisions. Enchanted horns usher into dark forests where two brothers vie for the queen’s hand, with dire consequences… Inspired by stories from the Brothers Grimm, Das klagende Lied calls for singers, choir and two orchestras (one of them off-stage). It is Mahler’s astonishingly assured opus one, a preview of his epic, kaleidoscopic symphonies. Like those, it bursts with the magic and mystery of nature, and the joys and fears of childhood.
In this performance, Simone Young conducts the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with the voices of The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, and soloists Michaela Schuster Mezzo-soprano, Steve Davislim Tenor and Andrew Collis Bass-baritone.

2.The artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet has created a gold-standard production of this beloved party piece, remaining faithful to the feel of the 19th-century original. Tchaikovsky’s last great score for ballet, The Nutcracker, with its lively motifs and bewitching melodies, draws us into the story of Clara, a young ballet student celebrating with her family on Christmas Eve. When the clock strikes twelve, we enter the realm of dream … and Clara is whisked to the Land of Sweets in the arms of her Nutcracker Prince.

Veteran designer John F. Macfarlane exquisitely evokes the world of this picture-perfect ballet: whirling snowflakes, crackling fires, band-box soldiers, a Christmas tree that grows until it brushes the ceiling and a Sugar Plum Fairy in luscious candy-floss pink.

3.Meet the new breed of Australian dance creators. In 2019 Sydney Dance Company, Carriageworks and The Balnaves Foundation continue their commitment to emerging choreographers and present the sixth edition of New Breed. Showcasing a rich diversity of choreographic ideas, an incredibly talented group of choreographers will create brand new pieces on members of the Sydney Dance Company.

4.Antonio Vivaldi’s operas are a unique blend of beauty and brilliance, and in Farnace we find the composer at the pinnacle of his operatic career. This rarely performed gem is the ideal candidate to receive the unique Pinchgut touch. Farnace is a passionate drama of political and dynastic intrigue: in the ultimate test of family loyalties, Farnace and his mother-in-law Berenice are pitted against each other for political gain and control of the kingdom. The title role will be sung by acclaimed countertenor Christopher Lowrey (Theodora), with Jacqueline Dark as his scheming mother-in-law. Joining them are Helpmann Award winner Taryn Fiebig (Rameau: Anacréon, Pigmalion), Helen Sherman (Bajazet, The Coronation of Poppea) and emerging Australian countertenor Max Riebl, making his Pinchgut debut.

5.Set in a psychiatric facility, Così is a play about friendship, romance, infidelity and difference. It’s 1971 and Australia is protesting the war in Vietnam. But inside the asylum, the inmates are listening to Mozart, learning their lines and occasionally skipping their medication. It’s art, it’s mayhem, it’s a wonderful roller coaster all the way to opening night.
The icing on the cake is that it’s all based on playwright Louis Nowra’s own life. In the 1970s, he himself directed a musical with inmates from Melbourne’s Mont Park Asylum. The one-off performance brought joy to everyone involved. Now, former STC Resident Director Sarah Goodes (fresh from winning a Helpmann Award for The Children) brings this joy to our stage. With its cast of loveable characters, Così offers a touching reminder of how art can make our spirits soar.

You will be able to walk to the Opera House and The City Recital Hall from your hotel, the beautifully restored Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, the former Fairfax newspaper headquarters and the Bank of NSW, our own Italianate version of New York’s Flat Iron Building. This will be your base for the duration of the tour, and if you should find the walk around to the Opera House difficult, we will organize a taxi for you.

And there still will be plenty of free time to catch up with Sydney friends or visit other places of personal interest.

This is a very special event, so get in early to secure your place. If you live locally, or will be staying with friends in Sydney, we can offer the package without accommodation. First preference will go to those choosing the whole package, and the best seats. This is a time to make an occasion of it and experience living in the heart of Sydney just before the Christmas break.

YOUR TOUR LEADER: Len Amadio has had a distinguished career in music administration in the ABC and subsequently in senior arts positions in the South Australian Government. He has served on many National Boards and Committees including the Adelaide Festival, Opera Australia, Australian Youth Orchestra and the ABC. He has travelled extensively in Europe, North America and South East Asia, and led 24 previous tours for Alumni Travel including eighteen to Europe. Within Australia he led a highly successful tour to the Adelaide Ring Cycle, and the 2013 and 2016 Opera Australia Melbourne Ring productions. Len commenced our successful series of Epsom House chamber music weekends in Hobart with Seraphim Trio, and has led the last two Coriole Music Festival tours. His first Sydney weekend program featured his friend Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin. He continues to promote the performance of good music in Australia wherever he can.



Arrive into Sydney in your own time. When we have the flight plans of all members of the party, we’ll put you in touch with others flying in at a similar time, to create a taxi share. You will be staying at the conveniently located Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in the heritage listed Fairfax Building.

1800: Meet your fellow tour members for a light supper (drinks included) at the hotel before we walk to the Opera House Concert Hall for our performance of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied performed by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, under the baton of our own Simone Young. (D)


Breakfast at the hotel. Free Morning. Find your own lunch.
1230: Meet in the hotel lobby to walk to Castlereagh Street to take the bus (using your OPAL transport card) to Carriageworks at Redfern.
1400: Sydney Dance Company presents New Breed, a showcase for new choreographers, employing the talent of stars of the Sydney Dance Company. Return to the hotel in your own time.
1730: Meet again in the hotel for a light supper (drinks included) before walking to the Opera House for tonight’s performance in the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
1930: The Nutcracker
After the performance, return to the hotel in your own time. B,D)


Breakfast at the Hotel.
Free morning.

1100: Walk to Circular Quay and take the ferry (using your OPAL card) to Milson’s Point on the north side of the Harbour. Walk to the popular and “hatted” Aqua Dining Italian restaurant for a tasting menu lunch with drinks included. You will be given ferry times to return to the city or you can take a stroll back into the city across the Harbour Bridge.
1600: Meet in the hotel lobby and walk to the City Recital Hall.
1700: Pinchgut Theatre presents Vivaldi’s Farnace, under the leadership of the inimitable Erin Hellyard. (B,L)


Breakfast at the Hotel. Free morning.
1100: Meet in the hotel for Morning Tea with a special guest (maybe more).
Free afternoon for your own exploration.
Meet in the lobby for our walk to the Opera House Drama Theatre for tonight’s performance.
Walk to 1830: The Sydney Theatre Company presents Louis Nowsa’s Cosi.
Return top the hotel in your own time. (B,MT)


Breakfast at the hotel.
You will be assisted if necessary to make your own way to the airport for your journey home. We will check who you might be able share a taxi with, because of similar flight departure times. (B)


TOUR PRICES (includes GST):
Land only per person, twin share $2,655.00
Single supplement $725.00
Without accommodation, per person $1,475.00

• 4 night’s accommodation twin share, with private facilities at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel
• Premium Category seats at the SOH Concert Hall with Simone Young, the SSO and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs in Das Klagende Lied
• Premium, A Reserve & B Reserve category ticket (in order of deposit receipt) to The Nutcracker in the SOH Joan Sutherland Theatre
• A Reserve category ticket to Cosi in the Drama Theatre
• Premium Reserve ticket for Farnace at the City Recital Hall
• General admission ticket to New Breed at Carriageworks
• Breakfast (B) daily and other meals as indicated in the itinerary: 2 Light suppers (D), 1 lunch (L), and one Morning Tea (MT). Wine and other beverages included with meals
• Expert tour leader throughout

• Transportation to and from Sydney and airport transfers. Airfares can be purchased in
addition. Please specify requirements at time of booking or you can check: or
• Travel Insurance
• Meals not listed in itinerary
• Items of personal nature (telephone, laundry, etc.)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the advertised program, circumstances may dictate minor adjustments. If this occurs an appropriate substitute will be made.

I’m Interested…How Do I Book?
Fill in the online Booking Form, read and agree with our Terms & Conditions, select your payment option for your deposit of $750.00 per person to Alumni Travel and Submit. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing.

The deposit is accepted as a first instalment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.

Any cancellation from the tour needs to be done in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply.

There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fees.

At the time of booking and paying your deposit, we recommend that you purchase personal travel insurance. Ensure it is appropriate for your travel arrangements as well as providing for cancellation charges detailed on this page.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants (12, excluding the tour leader) required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

Tour prices have been calculated on the basis of exchange rates and tariffs at time of print and are subject to change up until final payment has been received. Once final payment is received, no surcharges will apply. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.

Ready to take the journey of a lifetime?