9 days
Duration
British Isles
Destination

Gilbert and Sullivan small group tour

This 9-day tour explores the beguiling operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. The senior traveller with an interest in comic opera will delight in this immersion in the works of England’s most iconic opera duo combined with a unique travel experience.

Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated on fourteen comic operas, which were written between 1871 and 1896. Their most famous works are H.M.S. Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado, all of which showcase their characteristically eccentric humour and sumptuous musical numbers.

This small group tour gives participants a chance to learn much more about this fascinating operatic duo. During the tour we experience a number of live performances and hear from Gilbert and Sullivan experts. The educational tour also includes visits to several destinations like important museums, including the Black Country Living Museum, the Haymarket Theatre, and the Royal Academic of Music.

Highlights of the Gilbert & Sullivan tour

One highlight is experiencing the wonders of the Harrogate Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. During this festival, we enjoy leading performing Gilbert & Sullivan societies who compete for the championship trophy. The society performances take place during the week, while the professional performances for National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company are staged each weekend. The tour promises to be an unforgettable introduction to the world of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Itinerary for the Gilbert & Sullivan commences in Manchester

Our specialised educational tour begins in Manchester, where we enjoy a walking tour of the city that revolves around its Victorian Era sights and attractions. It was in this era that the partnership of the librettist W.S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan begun. The tour includes entrance to the Town Hall, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and one of the most important buildings in England. We then travel across to Harrogate for the festival, where we enjoy our first major evening performance.

On our second day in Harrogate, we take a day trip to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the charming ancient Roman city of York. Here, we take a walking tour of the city with a local guide. In the afternoon, we travel back to Harrogate to see another performance at the Royal Hall.

We travel on to London. While here, we visit the Royal Academy of Music, where Arthur Sullivan studied. Afterwards, we visit the museum , which covers the history of the Academy and has numerous artefacts bequeathed by Arthur Sullivan.

Later on, we visit the Savoy Theatre, the symbol of their artistic collaboration. While here, we learn how producer Richard D’Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration. He built the Savoy theatre to present their joint works which came to be known as the Savoy Operas, and founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan's works for over a century.

Other Highlights of this short small group tour for seniors:

Other highlights of this educational tour include visiting the Black Country Living Museum. Here, we view the collection and exhibits at the Royal Academy of Music. We also hear experts give insightful talks on the two composers, and explain their significance. Across the tour, we deepen our knowledge of and appreciation for these extraordinary musical collaborators. The pinnacle of this small group tour is the chance to experience four unforgettable live Gilbert and Sullivan shows: HMS Pinafore, Trial by Jury, Mikado, and Pirates of Penzance.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Tour Notes
  • Performances for 2020 will be updated when the schedule is released by the festival. Information listed above is based on 2019 schedule.

PDF of Tour

1
Learn about the Harrogate spa town and it’s role in Victorian leisure, a place to be see and be seen.
2
View the collection and exhibits at the Royal Academy of Music
3
Explore Manchester, to understand the society that Gilbert and Sullivan wrote for.
4
Learn more about the extraordinary musical collaborators, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.
5
Experience four unforgettable live Gilbert and Sullivan shows: HMS Pinafore, Trial by Jury, Mikado, and Pirates of Penzance

Overview: After checking into our hotel, we enjoy a welcome dinner together.

Accommodation: Novotel Manchester or similar

Overview: We begin the day start with a sightseeing tour of Manchester based on the Victorian Era, when the partnership of the librettist W.S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan started.

The tour includes visits too many of the central city monuments that reflect the Victorian philanthropy that make Manchester the place it is today. We visit the Town Hall which is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and one of the most important buildings in England, though it is closed for restoration till some time in 2022.

Accommodation: Novotel Manchester or similar

Overview: Today we spend the whole day at the festival and start the day with talks and presentations from Gilbert and Sullivan experts. In the evening, we enjoy our first show at the Royal Hall – Pirates of Penzance, performed by National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company

Accommodation: The falling Swan or equivalent

Overview: After breakfast, we travel to York by train for a sightseeing tour of the city with a local guide. In the afternoon, we travel to Harrogate to see the Yeoman of the guard at the Royal Hall.

Accommodation: The falling Swan or equivalent

Overview: This morning we explore Harrogate with a local guide. Set in the heart of Yorkshire, the Harrogate District is one of the most spectacular areas of England with attractive towns and villages, imposing historic houses, castles, abbeys, beautiful countryside and a host of other natural attractions.

In the evening, we travel to the Royal Hall to see a performance of the Sorcerer

Accommodation: The falling Swan or equivalent

Overview: Today is a free day in Harrogate, you may wish to enjoy the Turkish baths or simple explore Harrogate or venture to Leeds.

In the evening we enjoy a performance by Bus pass opera, a collective group of over 60’s who deliver Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury & HMS Pinafore.

Accommodation: Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel or similar

Overview: After breakfast, we travel to London, where Gilbert and Sullivan operated during the most important period of their career.
Start the day with a guided sightseeing tour of the most important places related to these two authors.

We also visit the Royal Academy of Music, where Arthur Sullivan studied. We visit the museum here, which covers the history of the Academy and has artifacts bequested by Arthur Sullivan.

We then visit the Savoy Theatre, the symbol of their artistic collaboration. Producer Richard D’Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration. He built the Savoy theatre to present their joint works which came to be known as the Savoy Operas, and founded the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan’s works for over a century.

Accommodation: London Lodge Kensington Hotel or similar

Overview: Today we head to the Haymarket Theatre, where Gilbert created several “fairy comedies” in the early 1870s. We then visit the spectacular English National Opera.
Here, we hear recordings of excerpts from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas began to be released in 1906 and were supervised by Rupert D’Oyly Carte who, as mentioned before, made these two authors the most significant composers of the Victorian Era. After the copyrights on the operas expired, other professional companies were free to perform and record the operas. Many performing companies arose to produce the works, such as “ Gilbert and Sullivan For All” in Britain and existing companies, such as English National Opera and Australian Opera added Gilbert and Sullivan to their repertories. Gilbert and Sullivan operas were constantly played at the English National Opera.
After the visit you will be taken to Grim’s Dyke Hotel where Gilbert house was located. There are lot of Gilberterian memorabilia on site.

This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner and show in the West end of London’s theatre district.

Accommodation: London Lodge Kensington Hotel or similar

Overview: After breakfast, we say our farewells and the tour concludes.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 8 nights of accommodation.
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary.
  • Concerts as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Transport and field trips as indicated.
  • Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
  • Gratuities and necessary tips.
  • Services of an Odyssey Tour Leader.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • Return international airfares and departure taxes.
  • Airport transfers.
  • Comprehensive international travel insurance.
  • Items of personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.

Gilbert and sullivan

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