Sunday, August 30, 2009

Itinerary for the Bel Canto Central Europe Performance Tour 2010

DAY 1 Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Overnight flight to Poland

DAY 2 Wednesday, June 23
Welcome to Warsaw
Check-in and welcome dinner.

DAY 3 Thursday, June 24
Warsaw in-depth
City Tour including the Royal Castle and Cathedral. Free time for exploring, shopping.Optional Mass participation.

DAY 4 Friday, June 25
PoznanExchange & Concert
Experience this musical city, visit the conservatory and meet with a local choir.

DAY 5 Saturday, June 26
to Berlin - Sightseeing
Cross the border to Germany, then continue to Berlin for a first orientation tour.

DAY 6 Sunday, June 27
Berlin, Berlin & Concert
Lots to see and do today prior to the next formal concert opportunity.

DAY 7 Monday, June 28
Via Leipzig to Chlumec
After stopping and singing in Leipzig at the Thomaskirche, continue to the Czech Republic for a small town experience, cultural and musical exchange, plus home-stays.

DAY 8 Tuesday, June 29
Next stop: Prague
After breakfast in your host homes, head to the Czech capital city for a first city tour of Prague‘s many highlights.

DAY 9 Wednesday, June 30
Prague in-depth - Concert
Today’s tour includes Royal Castle District, Charles‘ Bridge and Betramka Museum (recital) prior to the next concert.

DAY 10 Thursday, July 1
Austria here we come
Cross the border to neighboring Austria and take in Vienna‘s many sights, then continue to Göttweig Abbey for special dinner and overnight.

DAY 11 Friday, July 2
Vienna Sightseeing
“Willkommen in Wien“: Tour includes the city‘s highlights, visits to Schubert‘s Birthplace and the Mozart Museum.

DAY 12 Saturday, July 3
Scenice Danube Valley
Visit Dürnstein or Melk, return to Göttweig for a special concert at the magnificent Stiftskirche.

DAY 13 Sunday, July 4
Welcome to Budapest
Head to Hungary’s capital and prepare for your finale concert in a prime venue to celebrate Independence Day.

Day 14 Monday, July 5
Budapest Sights & Farewell
See Budapest’s many highlights, then gather for a fun farewell dinner.

Day 15 Tuesday, July 6
Return to US

The outlined itinerary is work-in-progress at this early stage in the planning and we are convinced to pleasantly surprise you with many extra features to be added as the planning continues. Incantato maintains a strong relationship with the US Embassy‘s cultural offices in Europe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Have you ever heard of Chlumec?

We have a feeling the answer is no, and despite having traveled extensively through Europe, everyone in our team, even the Czech natives, had never been to this little town prior to 2007 when our Concert Manager for Central Europe, Karolina, connected with the local choir and their director for a special exchange and concert. A friendship started between the group and several of us at Incantato. In 2009, the Chlumec Choir visited the US and the choir they had hosted, now for 2010, they invited the Monte Vista High School Choir to visit them and their families.
For more information on Chlumec, click here and to learn more about the choir, follow this link.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bel Canto Performance Tour Highlights & Summary


Budapest, Vienna, the Danube Valley with Melk, Krems, Dürnstein & Göttweig, Prague, Chlumec, Leipzig, Berlin, Poznan and Warsaw


• See and experience both major cities and off-the-beaten path gems of Central Europe
• Up to four professionally organized and promoted formal concerts and masses in historical venues just for your choir and as part of one or two exchange concerts specifically organized for Bel Canto and hosted by a local organization
• Plenty of opportunities for immersion into the local cultures
• Educational and entertaining sightseeing
• Exchanges with students in the Czech Republic (home-stay) and Poland (maybe Germany too)
• Quality 3 and 4 star hotels in good locations, great food, free time for individual explorations...

Likely Performance Venues
• Matyas Templom, Kodaly School of Music —Budapest
• Stiftskirche —Goettweig
• St. Nicholas Church —Prague
• Cathedral —Chlumec (EXCHANGE CONCERT)
• Gedächtniskirche —Berlin
• St. John’s Cathedral, Ambassador's Residence —Warsaw

The above listed venues are a first selection by Incantato‘s European Concert Managers and will be requested for your choir and travel dates. Final confirmation is based on submission of repertoire/recording as well as final approval by the local music director.

Accommodation & Meals

Incantato‘s Hospitality Managers takes pride in working only with pre-inspected hotels that fit your budget and selected restaurants frequented by locals. We offer the students the opportunity to stay overnight in the former dormitories now youth guest house of the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig - an amazing experience that also helps to lower the overall cost. Hotel accommodation can be provided for parents and guests during those nights (extra cost applies).

Cultural exchanges

Incantato encourages your group to interact with like-minded people and their organizations in Europe and we are uniquely qualified to set up meet & greet events with audiences, school exchanges and joined concerts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Unforgettable experiences at Goettweig" - from Ember Lanuti

My name is Ember and I am now a member of the Incantato Tours Team. Before I joined the company, I toured with my university choir to Central Europe in the summer of 2008. One of my most memorable times was at the Benedictine Abbey of Goettweig. I felt like we were treated like kings and queens as we were offered a private tour through the monastery with Pater Justus, the museum was full of beautiful art and history but more importantly it had original compositions by Haydn and Beethoven on display. He also allowed our fellow student and accompanist to play on the organ in the cathedral. It was so special to see the cathedral at night and to have a personal concert on their beautiful, enormous organ.

Goettweig is situated on the top of a mountain, which offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views I've ever seen. Here are some pictures from the perspective of my camera last summer. This is a picture of my friend and I (on the right) with Pater Justus, at the end of our personal tour through the monastery and museum.

This is a monastery that carries on with their Benedictine style of life but has adapted graciously to the 21st century. This was made obvious on Sunday morning after their traditional mass there was a contemporary service held outside and the whole congregation was full of motorcycles and their riders. Although it was alarming to hear all the bikes roaring up to the courtyard, it was moving to be able to witness this - it was a beautiful experience.

While staying at Goettweig, we were able to take strolls along the Danube in Duernstein and to
take a hike up to the ruins of a castle fortress, which happens to be where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned during the Crusades.

Here's a silly picture of my friend acting like she was locked up in the same place as Richard. She'd kill me if she knew I posted this! =)

Last but not least, we had a wonderful experience performing in the sanctuary. It's a beautiful spectacle for the audience but also for the singers. I firmly believe that each venue offers something different to each piece of repertoire. My musical experience was definitely enhanced while singing here. The space is very much alive and is great for classical music, especially for an orchestra. Here is a picture of the sanctuary during our performance. In this picture, the choir is singing Bach's "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" - split into two choirs spanning both sides.

Incantato Destinations: Krems, Austria

Visit the website of Krems and the Danube Valley for information and impressions from the beautiful part of Austria.