Thursday, January 23, 2014

Join the Friends in Italy this summer for music, food and more

This summer, the Friends of Spivey Hall Travel Program takes us back to Italy for the 2014 Trasimeno Music Festival -- a full week of excellent music in historic venues under the artistic direction of Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, a favorite Spivey Hall guest artist. 

This will be the Friends' third Trasimeno Music Festival (TMF) visit, and the Festival's Tenth Anniversary.  

This Friends trip is almost sold out (as are tickets for many of the TMF concerts), but we have a handful of places left.  

Want to go?  There's still time and opportunity -- the registration deadline is February 7.

Let me count the ways we enjoy this experience!  

First, the beauties of central Italy, which almost speak for themselves.  TMF events take place in and around the city of Perugia, in the region of Umbria, which is adjacent to (but proudly differs from) Tuscany and Lazio.  This summer, we're staying at a resort hotel, The Hotel Lido Lago Trasimeno, overlooking the lake, with a glass-covered restaurant that extends into the lake in pier-like fashion.  Talk about a relaxing place to sit, eat, drink, and take in the view....ahhh.  Second, we stay put in the same hotel for the week, so there's not a lot of unpacking and repacking; we get settled in, which makes our days and nights easier. 

Third, the concerts are superb.  Angela will give two solo piano recitals (one of which will feature Bach's "Goldberg" Variations") and will perform (in two concerts) the complete keyboard concertos of Bach (including the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto) with the Camerata Salzburg.  Plus there are chamber music performances (including piano quartets by Mozart and Schumann), and an opening all-Mozart concert in the historic Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi with the "Coronation" Piano Concerto and Angela as soloist, the "Coronation" Mass with choir and soloists, and the lovely motet for soprano and orchestra, "Exsultate, jubilate," performed with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano "Giuseppe Verdi" (which I've heard in prior visits to Milan and really liked) under the direction of British conductor Jeffrey Tate.  (I greatly admire his work on the podium from hearing his "Ring" Cycle in Adelaide as well as concerts at at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.)  Another highlight of this year's festival is a performance with a distinctly theatrical bent:  Sir William Walton's Facade, to clever (sometimes called "nonsense") poems by Dame Edith Sitwell, featuring an instrumental ensemble and two reciters:  the renowned British soprano Dame Felicity Lott (who will also provide theatrical direction), and a male reciter to be announced.  Click here for complete and up-to-date TMF artist and program details.  Concerts are given in a variety of historic venues, principally the Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione, where the lucky audience of ca. 200 sits in the brick-lined open-air  cortile (courtyard), with the stars twinkling above. It's truly enchanting and personal in a "Spivey-esque" way, because there's such an intimate connection between artists and the audience.

Fourth, the delicious food and great wines. Che delizia!  The Friends of Spivey Hall TMF ground package includes three multi-course gala dinners planned by the TMF to coincide with the concerts, and a few lunches as well.  There are also opportunities on various days to eat (and explore and shop) as you like.  

Fifth, the excursions.  We get to do and see so much, all organized to mesh with our concert schedule.  We'll take a private boat ride to explore Lake Trasimeno and its islands with lunch included.  We've visiting a vineyard and having lunch on our way up to Umbria from the Rome Fiumicino Airport, and stopping in Orvieto (also known for wine) on the way back.  Plus we'll head over the "spine" of the Appenines to the city of Urbino, an important center of Italian Renaissance art and culture, with an amazing castle to explore.  We'll be touring a cheese factory and having lunch afterwards, and will have walking tours of Perugia and the town on the lake where our hotel is (Passignano sul Trasimeno).  For excursions, we have private English-speaking guides and private coaches.  From his younger days of living in Milan and studying in Florence, Yours Truly still retains some of his Italian to help translate and explain and coordinate things along the way.

Sixth -- but far from the least important! -- is the company of our fellow music-lovers.  As the proverb goes, "Happiness shared is happiness multiplied."  We have found in our Travel Program adventures that the Friends of Spivey Hall who participate truly enjoy the concerts, excursions, and meals more when we experience them together.  For this we thank Friends Council members Susan Hunter and Jeff Adams, who so beautifully organize these trips with Angela and the TMF staff for us.

The ground package starts at Rome's Fiumicino Airport the morning of July 3, 2014, and includes one night of hotel at the Fiumicino Airport to facilitate a return to the US the morning of July 13, 2014.  The per-person ground package is $3600 (double-occupancy) or $4055 (single occupancy) and includes concert tickets, hotel, excursions, group ground transfer, taxes, and gratuities (travelers must provide their own airfare and travel insurance).

In early March, Jeff and Susan will be hosting an evening in Atlanta with Angela, who will not only give us the ultimate insider's preview of the artists and programs she's put together for the 2014 Trasimeno Music Festival, but will also perform some solo piano music for us as well -- a rare privilege, and a perfect prelude to the trip.  The additional tax-deductible donation ($150) to attend this event benefits the American Friends of the Trasimeno Festival.

So join us!  For details of our current itinerary, terms and conditions, registration forms, and the Atlanta evening with Angela, simply email Megan Wefald at  We can only confirm participation in the tour upon receipt of registration form and deposit ($1000 per person).  The final payment is due March 1 -- so if you're interested, don't wait!


Post a Comment

<< Home