Meet the Kapellmeister at Salzburg Cathedral and view the original book of records that documents Mozart's birth. Access the organ lofts and the seven organs of the cathedral before a stunning recital by the Cathedral organist.
Hidden in a residential Salzburg square is the entrance to a special musical treasure not normally open to the public. Descend to a heavily guarded vault where you'll find more than half of the known documents from the Mozart family including original autographed musical manuscripts. The head archivist provides context and revealing insight into the mind of Mozart through his letters, and answers your questions about the great composer.
Stephansdom stands at the heart of Vienna and its stories represent the soul of the city. This privileged access exploration of its history, architecture, and music includes access to the new grand organ loft, musical presentations, and a stunning experience inside and outside the iconic multi-colored tile roof of the cathedral.
As guests of Gerald Wirth, President and Artistic Director of the Vienna Boys Choir, enjoy a warm welcome at historic Augarten Palais, the home of the choir. Visit with a choral director, learn about daily life and hear the boys in rehearsal. During your visit to Vienna, be sure to take in Mass at the Imperial Chapel, to hear the choir sing in a formal setting.
Enjoy the acoustics of the soaring Melk Abbey, a masterpiece of the high Baroque, where our visit will include an a cappella soprano performance.
Truly one of the world's most stunning concert venues for its aesthetic and acoustic, enjoy privileged access behind the scenes and with a member of the Vienna Philharmonic who will share their experience of playing in the majestic hall.
A pre-performance presentation on Vincenzo Bellini and his opera I Puritani, will enhance your enjoyment of a production at Staatsoper, one of the great opera houses of the world. After the performance dine across the street at the regal Hotel Sacher.
Placido Domingo once said ‘Sometimes pianists try to sound like singers. Me personally I try to sound like a Bösendorfer’. Make your own impression at a private visit to the production facility outside Vienna for a behind the scenes visit. Enjoy the unique Bösendorfer sound quality as a master tuner introduces you to exceptional instruments like the Millennium Concert Grand. Afterwards, we are treated to a private piano recital in the exclusive Bösendorfer Salon.
A private experience hosted by a Mozart scholar at the beautiful Estates Theatre, the only remaining theatre in which the great composer conducted, where he presented the world premiere of Don Giovanni and where you will later enjoy a performance of this iconic opera.
Following a private tour of Prague's National Theatre, you will have the opportunity to meet a soloist, conductor, or director from tonight's performance. In the evening, return for a performance of The Bartered Bride and enjoy Smetana's comic work in the leading opera house of his home country.
In the Czech capital of Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, you will stop at Teplice Spa where Beethoven was a guest in 1811. Also known as Lázeňský dům Beethoven, you'll relax in these hot healing springs, walk through the spa gardens filled with incredible fountains, any take in a matinee at the architecturally fascinating Krušné Hory theatre.
Leipzig has been home to musical giants like Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann and of course Johann Sebastian Bach. Join us for a tour of the composers former home led by the musical director of Thomaskirche, before visiting the famous Gewandhaus concert hall and dining at the Auerbachskeller -- one of the most historic restaurants in Germany.
During your private visit you will have the chance to see all the details of this marvelous church building and you will learn more about the vast cathedral organ (and its historic predecessors) from none other than the Frauenkirche organist himself.
One of the most stunning Opera Houses in the world, it is indubitably worth visiting twice! Enhance your enjoyment of the performance through this behind-the-curtain experience that will take place earlier in your stay. Your expert host will discuss its architecture, set design and technology, and musical history. At a champagne reception, meet a soloist who will provide some insight into the upcoming production and may even give voice to a particular highlight or two.
Stop in Störmthal for a special visit of the Blüthner piano factory where Julius Blüthner's ancestors continue his legacy to build the finest hand-crafted pianos. A member of the Blüthner family will welcome you with glass of champagne while relating the turbulent history of the company, as well as showing you how the pianos are made. Later, there will be a short recital in the factory's own concert hall with works by Schumann and Mendelssohn.
Enjoy a visit to the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) in Leipzig, home of the famous Thomanerchor. Following the concert, enjoy lunch with an ensemble member who will share insights into life in Leipzig at one of the world's most famous choirs, giving intriguing context to our visit in Leipzig.
Photo: Kulturpalast Dresden-Mosaik by Fyona A. Hallé
Visit Bela Bartok's house on the outskirts of the city where you will be welcomed by a musical historian to give context to your visit and the repertoire to be enjoyed afterwards. This private recital will feature works composed by Bartok, many of them in this very house.
Attend a live lecture at the Liszt Academy (in English) offering a behind the scenes look at music education in one of Europe's finest musical institutions. Afterwards, enjoy a private visit to the famous concert hall with a local expert.
Matthias Church, in Buda's castle district, is a magnificent venue for an organ recital featuring works by Liszt. A few steps from the church is perhaps the most famous panorama in Eastern Europe over the might Danube below and across from the beautiful Hungarian Parliament building. It is with this view that we dine tonight at the Fisherman's Bastion enjoying the early evening light giving way to the dramatic illumination of the Pest riverfront.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, prosperous families built private horseshoe theatres providing an intimate performance venue for the local population. Teatro dei Rassicurati in medieval hill-top Montecarlo di Lucca is a beautiful example and the venue for our private operatic recital featuring performers from the nearby Puccini Opera Company.
Learn about Ambrosian chant, one of the world's oldest choral traditions, from an expert in the very church that inspires its name; St. Ambrogio. A musical lecture is enhanced by the accompaniment of the church choir who chant at service three times a week.
Join the list of Florentine musical patrons today as you receive the score and copyright to an original composition at its world premiere. Meet with the Dean and students at the Conservatorio di Musica Luigi Cherubini in Florence who have specially composed a piece inspired by input from guests of The Encore Collection. The performance will take place in the auditorium of the Conservatory.
This special celebration of Stradivarius and his gifts to the world of strings takes place in Cremona. Relax with an espresso and enjoy the gentle scenes of Lombardy before reaching the Museo del Violino. The museums unique auditorium was built solely with the perfect acoustic in mind for playing strings and it is here that two virtuosi will play a private concert for you on a violin and a cello hand-crafted by Stradivarius himself as well as a violin made by Guarneri del Gesù.
Our host is James Demby, composer, conductor and professor of Music Theory at the State Conservatory of Music of Florence and also a researcher and scholar in West African Ghanaian Ewe Music. The professor will be delighted to make a presentation of Ewe Music, its own structure and philosophy, and the language of Talking Drums, together with his drumming group Italian Sankofa and the students of his Conservatory Workshop.
Our visit to the workshop of La Scala is an insight into the expertise and love that has made it one of the world's most prestigious opera companies. After an exclusive tour, don your evening wear for an opera at La Scala and a VIP backstage tour! Over prosecco in the stunning atrium, hear notes on this evenings production of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera before sitting back in orchestra seats for the main event.
Founded by Emperor Joseph I in 1707, the Dorotheum is one of the oldest and largest auction houses worldwide. Visit behind the scenes, view the most sought after items of the day and attend a live auction all with the guidance and through the eyes of a Dorotheum auctioneer. After the excitement of the auction, explore the stunning building and browse the various departments with items on immediate sale, at your own pace.
Perfect your box-step under the guidance of an expert in Viennese Waltz. The city offers many opportunities for ballroom dancing to show off your techinque later in the day.
The Municipal House is one of the most significant public buildings in the Art Nouveau style, with original artwork by Alfons Mucha. It is the place where the Czechoslovak Republic was proclaimed in 1918 and you can celebrate this historic event with a glass of champagne on the very balcony where it happened. Your evening in the Art Nouveau style will be crowned by dinner surrounded by the spectacular decor of the Municipal House restaurant.
Berkeley Castle is a stunning medieval fortified noble home from where the family financed a voyage to the New World. Upon arrival in Virginia in December 1619, the passengers held the first recorded religious Thanksgiving service, which historians credit as the earliest origin of the celebration we observe today. On this private visit, discover connections to the US with the castle archivist and join the custodian in areas not usually accessible including a rooftop tour.
A traditional afternoon tea in the elegant surroundings of a top London hotel is an experience to savor. Doing so with the attentions and expertise of a senior English Butler elevates the entertainment and educational value to no end. Be warned though, breaches of etiquette may be observed and corrected by subtle suggestion!
The finest English country gardens are a source of national pride and there is no better way to visit than with the gardeners themselves. Our invitation includes a personal tour of the typical wide paths surrounded by bursting flower displays, rosebushes and topiary as well as afternoon tea and a chin-wag with your hosts.
Travel back in time and meet England's master poet and orator of the middle ages. Chaucer himself invites you to London's oldest coaching inn for lunch and a hilarious re-telling of the most colorful episodes from his Canterbury Tales.
Arrive on the Royal Brow, an entrance previously reserved for the Queen, and board the magnificent Royal Yacht Britannia. Walk the red carpet, enjoy a glass of champagne, and embark on a private guided visit of the five decks including the Admiral's Cabin and State Apartments.
In Meissen, we explore the winding cobbled streets and the magnificent cathedral followed by lunch at the historic Vincenz Richter restaurant, which serves wine from its own vineyards. Afterwards enjoy an exclusive tour of the world-renowned Porcelain Manufactury which includes a display of porcelain from the past 300 years and the chance to watch skilled artists mold objects, sculpt the delicate blossoms, and paint flowers on plates and teacups.
At Maranello, the home of the prancing horse, visit the museum featuring a collection of the most famous models while those who choose may opt to experience the thrill of getting behind the wheel or enjoy being driven by a professional driver. For those who may prefer, spend this time visiting a top producer of balsamic vinegars, including samples of their finest 'aceto' and where we will all enjoy a light lunch featuring regional specialties.
Experience Culatello, the finest variety of cured meat in all of Italy, as a guest of Antica Corte Pallavicina where it has been aged in the cellars since the 14th century. Visit the venerable vaults and their fascinating contents with the owner and hear histories of serving nobility such as the Sforzesco family of Milan. Dinner at the restaurant tops off our experience with sumptuous dishes featuring the best product of the estate and region.
Enjoy dinner and a show at Kate Kearney's infamous Cottage. A well known beauty in Ireland in the years before the Great Famine, the legend of Kate has captured the imagination of people far and wide. It was at this sibin (a place illegally selling alcohol) that Kate distilled her famous poitin -- an Irish Potato Spirit. Known as 'Kate Kearney's Mountain Dew', this potent beverage was offered to weary travelers who would partake in her hospitality.
Join us for dinner at the River Room -- an exquisite restaurant located in the Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate. Following dinner, you will enjoy an evening of traditional Irish music. You'll have the opportunity to hear traditional Irish instruments including the uilleann pipe, fiddle and bodhrÃ¡n drums. They will be joined by Sean-nos (old style) singers, a regional tradition. An authentic experience that captures the Celtic spirit!
After enjoying a full Irish breakfast we're heading to Limerick to visit the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Meet current students of Irish dance and speak with their professors. Travelers will then take in a live lesson with the opportunity to interact afterwards to further your appreciation for this popular form of dance.
Along the south-east coast of Ireland you'll find Waterford; the oldest city in country. After taking in the beautiful views of Waterford Harbour, we will be the special guests of a local chef for a hands-on cookery class featuring traditional Irish and local specialties. After preparing these delicious treats, we will enjoy lunch together as we sample our creations.
Afternoon tea in The Gallery at Adare Manor is a truly magical experience. Breath in the elegance and history as you sit in this exquisitely designed room (which is based on the legendary Hall of Mirrors in Versailles) fitted with breathtaking architecture and delicate details. Enjoy scrumptuous sandwiches and pastries paired with an extensive selection of specialty teas from around the world. Don't forget to check out the impeccably manicured French gardens!
Visit Edinburgh Castle an hour before opening for unobstructed views of the Crown Jewels and a delicious full Scottish breakfast tken in one of the castle's ornate dining rooms.
Built for the Paris Opera at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III, the Palais Garnier (also known as Opera Garnier) is the setting for The Phantom of the Opera and is arguably the most famous opera house in the world. Here you'll enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes access before taking in a performance at this magnificent venue.
Visit The Royal Chapel at the Palace of Versailles for a one-of-a-kind concert experience. Accompanied by trumpet virtuoso David Guerrier, organist Jean-Baptiste Robin presents a performance full of musical surprises. Enjoy a performance of baroque music using the Great Organ's evocative power and the impact of brilliant pieces with "trumpet and drum" capable of amplifying the court and its victories. A truly unique experience!
Several painters (including Seurat, Picasso, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec) were inspired by the French Cancan, a well-known symbol of 19th-century Paris. Each of these artists decided to immortalize its free spirit, and this raucous dance continues to inspire people today. Take the stage and find your own inspiration at the legendary cabaret, the Paradis Latin. After the class, meet some of the dancers and enjoy a libation!
Programs feature selected lunches and dinners at restaurants carefully sourced for authentic regional cuisine, stunning interiors, or privileged locations and with an eye to the overall dining experience.