Australia with Wagner's Ring Cycle - Great Barrier Reef optional, November 29 to December 15, 2023
A visit to the Land Down Under has been on our “bucket list” for some time; we’ve also been searching for an exciting new production of the Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen for several years. Happily, those two priorities have come together with the Australian National Opera's premiere of a new production of the full cycle in December 2023!

Wagner's epic masterpiece, comprising 15 hours of music over four nights, will be imagined through a futuristic lens that creates an immersive virtual world, with astonishing costumes and props. The sets incorporate huge LED screens, suspended and "choreographed" to move seamlessly around the stage, creating a striking visual landscapePhilippe Auguin, noted for his Wagner interpretations, conducts a cast that features Lise Lindstrom as Brünhilde, Daniel Sumegi as Wotan, and Stefan Vinke as Siegfried - each at the very top of the international "A-list" for their roles. In addition to the requisite week in Brisbane for the Ring, we will spend four nights in Sydney and three in Melbourne, with musical events, including at the iconic Sydney Opera House, and sightseeing programs in and near each city, as well as ample free time for you to explore your own interests.

We have been able to secure only 16 sets of tickets, (one seat for each of the four Ring operas)
some in each of the top three seating categories.
They will be allocated based on the order in which reservations are received.

The tour price (left, below) does not include the cost of your Ring tickets, since that will vary according to which seating category you choose.
Ticket details can be seen beneath the tour itinerary.


Prices, per person

  $ 4,950 sharing a double
$ 5,995 single occupancy

Seats for the Wagner Ring
are priced separately,
at $700, $1250, or $1,530
per set of four tickets.

(Details concerning
Ring Cycle ticket prices and allocation can be found beneath the day-by-day tour description at the right.)

All prices are stated in
U.S. Dollars

calculated on an exchange rate of 70 US cents to the Australian Dollar.

Package prices include

Accommodation in these
carefully chosen four-star hotels

Four nights at
Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour

Three nights at
Vibe Hotel Melbourne

Seven nights at
Capri by Fraser Brisbane

Breakfast each day

Lunch or dinner on eight days (drinks included

Wine tastings

Two internal flights

Airport transfers

Ground transport by
private coach

Local Transit Pass for Sydney

  Category I seats for
Australian National Ballet production of Swan Lake
at the Sydney Opera House

  Chamber Music Concert
in Melbourne

  Sightseeing and excursions
as described to the right


We are currently negotiating details for a 3-day extension
to the Great Barrier Reef
from and returning to Brisbane.
Please indicate your interest
on your reservation form and we will provide details when they become available


United  offers the shortest transit times, both directions:
UA  101, non-stop Houston-to-Sydney;
UA 97 and 1369 via
San Francisco on the return from Brisbane.


Wednesday, 29 November: Depart for Sydney (a day is lost, crossing the international date line)

Friday, 1 December: Morning arrival in Sydney. After we unload the bags and obtain our transportation “Opal Cards,” we take the light rail to Circular Quay to embark upon a luxury cruise around Sydney Harbor. Expansive top, fore, and after decks allow you to experience amazing and uninterrupted 360-degree views of one of the world’s most famous harbors including the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and Luna Park. Take in the stunning scenery while feasting on a delicious menu including a decadent dessert, paired with wines from some of New South Wales’ most prestigious wine regions. The rest of the afternoon is free.

Saturday, 2 December: An orientation walk acquaints us with Hyde Park and the Rocks, the oldest neighborhood in the city, giving us insights into Sydney’s colonial past. Lunch follows at the waterfront, with stunning views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor. Observe the ferries chugging in and out of the Quay and watch people as you dine on delicious Mediterranean/Modern Australian fare. We return to the hotel via light rail. In the evening, you might want to attend The Dictionary of Lost Words at the Drama Theatre, one of the venues that comprise the Sydney Opera House (optional).

Sunday, 3 December: Today offers you time to relax and explore Sydney on your own. You might elect to start your day with an exclusive backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House, followed by a leisurely breakfast beside the Sydney Harbor. (optional)

Monday, 4 December: Free day; a new production of Swan Lake at the Sydney Opera House is included for everyone this evening. Directed and realized by Artistic Director David Hallberg, this dynamic new production, honoring the company’s 60th anniversary season, is a reimagining of one the greatest works of all time, fusing its enduring beauty with crisp, realistic designs, showcasing the classic’s timeless relevance.
Tuesday, 5 December: Fly to Melbourne; lunch on arrival. This evening, we attend a concert of quartets by Mozart and Mendelssohn, presented at the Primrose Potter Salon of the Melbourne Recital Centre, a uniquely intimate 150-seat performance and event space.
Wednesday, 6 December: The morning is dedicated to a get-acquainted tour of Melbourne, after which your day is free.
Thursday, 7 December: Our all-day excursion takes us to the Yarra Valley, a world-famous wine-growing region, less than an hour from Melbourne. We start at Healesville Sanctuary, home to more than 200 species of native birds and animals. Wine tasting and lunch follow at a famous local winery. We end at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, where you’ll enjoy tastings and food demonstrations. Back in Melbourne, you might be interested in an evening concert by the Omega Ensemble at the Primrose Potter Salon of the Melbourne Recital Centre, featuring Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet and the String Quartet No.1 by John Adams. (optional)

Friday, 8 December: Fly to Brisbane, enjoy lunch, and check in at the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to get settled into our home for the next seven nights. We’ll reconvene to discuss Wagner's Ring Cycle, before walking to the Queensland Performing Arts Center's Lyric Theatre for this evening’s performance of Das Rheingold. Further conversations are certain to follow each opera!

Saturday, 9 December: An all-day excursion takes us to Tamborine Mountain, a rainforest-covered escarpment formed by a 23-million-year-old lava flow. Tamborine Mountain is the gateway to the “Scenic Rim,” home to six distinct national parks. Enjoy the scenic drive up the mountain, panoramic views across the Rim, and the Gold Coast. The Skywalk is a breathtaking combination of forest floor trails, a series of high-tech steel bridges taking you through the highest points of the upper canopy, and a cantilever bridge that soars a breathtaking hundred feet above the creek and rainforest below. Hikers can continue through the rainforest to Curtis Falls. Apart from viewing the picturesque falls and Cedar Creek, this is a great spot for spotting some iconic bird life such as the rainbow lorikeet, kookaburra, king parrot, and colorful rosella. You may even see the shy pademelons (small rainforest wallabies). If you aren’t up for the hike, there are plenty of shopping opportunities along the iconic Gallery Walk, Queensland's premier Arts and Craft district, boasting over 70 specialty shops, selling everything from fashion, jewelry, cottage industry arts and crafts, produce, cellar door outlets, chocolate, and food. Before sitting down to well-deserved wine-tasting and lunch, we discover a glow worm cave filled with thousands of vulnerable South East Queensland glow worms, or rather fly larvae, emitting a spectacular phosphorescent glow.
Sunday, 10 December: Our day starts with a walking tour to get acquainted with Brisbane. The rest of your day is free; curtain time for Die Walküre is 5 PM.

Monday, 11 December: Relax and explore more of Brisbane’s cultural attractions and shopping opportunities . . . or join today’s scenic trip to the Sunshine Coast and visit the world-famous Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. Australia Zoo is a highlight with more than 1200 animals from around the globe, daily wildlife shows, and the busiest wildlife hospital in the world where you can see vets saving native Australian animals. (optional) Also optional is Verdi's Aïda this evening at the Lydic Theatre.

Tuesday, 12 December: Today, we get an up-close and personal experience of an Aboriginal Village. Carry the message stick of acceptance to the elder of the village, go through the cleansing smoke ceremony, feel the sensations of the world’s oldest continuous culture to the sounds of the didgeridoo, ancient chants, dances, and songs. We then continue to a family farm for a winery tour and tasting, including lunch. We’ll get back to Brisbane in time for you to freshen up before this evening’s performance of Siegfried at 5 PM.

Wednesday, 13 December: Free day - or cruise to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary this morning, listening to commentary while gliding along Brisbane’s waterfront, from the bustle of the city’s skyscrapers to leafy suburbs with waterside mansions. You have three hours exploring the sanctuary, where you can see over 130 koalas and amazing birds of prey, hand feed kangaroos and emus, experience an authentic Australian sheep dog show, and spy on a platypus swimming. Lunch and snacks are available on board and at the sanctuary for purchase. (optional) Also optional is Verdi's Aïda this evening at the Lydic Theatre.
Thursday, 14 December: Your last day is free till time for a late lunch prior to this afternoon’s performance of Götterdämmerung. We’ll have a world of experiences to share afterwards, from pre-European Australia to a 21st-century production of what is arguably the most massive achievement of Western musical/theatrical culture.

Friday, 15 December: Fly back to the U.S. (arriving in Houston later the same time today that you depart Brisbane, regaining your lost day, despite the overnight flight)

Ring Cycle Tickets

We have access to a limited number of seats for the four operas of the Wagner Ring Cycle in Brisbane, in the top 3 seating categories (all in the orchestra section):

4 Premium Category sets at $1,530
8 Reserve Category A sets at $1,250
4 Reserve Category B sets at $700

Your reservation form will include space for you to indicate your seating preferences; please indicate 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices. We will do our best to provide everyone’s first choice. Requests will be fulfilled based on the order in which we receive your completed reservation form and deposit.

Ring Cycle in Brisbane
Ring Cycle in Brisbane
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
View from hotel pool
View from hotel pool
Cruise around the Harbor
Cruise around the Harbor
Sydney Harbor Bridge
Sydney Harbor Bridge
Sydney Panorama
Sydney Panorama
Primrose Potter Salon
Primrose Potter Salon
Wine tasting & gourmet lunch in Yarra Valley
Wine tasting & gourmet lunch in Yarra Valley
Lyric Theatre, Brisbane
Lyric Theatre, Brisbane
Tamborine Mountain
Tamborine Mountain
Rainbow lorikeet
Rainbow lorikeet
Didgeridoo playing
Didgeridoo playing
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Southbank, Brisbane
Southbank, Brisbane