A Perfect Year of Classical Music Trips

With one trip for each month of 2014, this itinerary could make even the Flying Dutchman dizzy

PHOTO COURTESY OF SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

January

Might as well chase the sun while we chase great music, so we’ll start where it’s summer, at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and catch a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute, originally directed, and with costume designs by Julie Taymor. January 10–March 6, sydneyoperahouse.com

February

Back in the USA, but staying warm in sunny Los Angeles, where maturing wunderkind Gustavo Dudamel leads his L.A. Philharmonic (and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela, in which he was trained) in a mini-Tchaikovsky festival at the stunning Disney Concert Hall. February 21–March 2, laphil.com

March

First stop in Europe: If the Berlin Philharmonic hardly ever travels, we’ll go to them, and listen to Sir Simon Rattle working some magic with Brahms and Debussy. March 3–7, berlinerphilharmoniker.de

April

Where else would we go this month but to Paris? The Paris Opera presents Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and we can also catch the Paris Opera Ballet School Show. April 8–May 4, operadeparis.fr

May

Let’s go to Carnegie Hall! On six consecutive nights, the NY Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and the Symphonies of Winnipeg, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh perform. May 5–10, carnegiehall.org

June

Off to St. Petersburg for the “maestro of midnight,” Valery Gergiev, and his stunning festival of the midnight sun, “Stars of the White Nights.” For about five weeks there are often daylight and evening performances every day, many of them in the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater. May 24–July 28, mariinsky.us

July

We’ll celebrate summer just outside Tuscany, at the Torre del Lago Puccini Festival, just a few miles from where the composer of Madama Butterfly and La Boheme lived and worked. puccinifestival.it

August

The crown jewel: Salzburg Festival. Does it really matter what they play? salzburgerfestspiele.at

September

We think of our Verona as “epic,” but for opera lovers you have to go to Italy’s Verona, where we can just catch the last two productions of their Verdi Festival. arena.it

October

Its origins go back to 1936 as the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, and even though the Israel Philharmonic comes to the U.S. on occasion, how can you beat hearing them in the Holy Land? ipo.co.il

November

Time for a different direction—Tokyo and the famed Suntory Hall, with the Tokyo Philharmonic and in all likelihood a fantastic recital. tpo.or.jp

December

We’ll close the year with traditions older than Dickens—a Christmas Eve trip to the Carols at King’s College, Cambridge … and we’ll just have to come to Britain early enough for an opera at London’s Covent Garden and the Nutcracker with the Royal Ballet. kings.cam.ac.uk, roh.org.uk

Greg Hettmansberger covers classical music for Madison Magazine. Read his symphony and opera reviews, artist interviews and more in his Classically Speaking blog. 

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