HANDS Up Holidays (0800 783 3554; www.handsupholidays. com); Northern Territory art tours (00 618 898 53266; www. collectaboriginalart.com.au); Music in the Desert (www.negev-tour. il); Jacobs Ladder (www.jlfestival. com); Israel Festival (www.israelfestival.org.il); Jerusalem Jazz Festival (www.yellowsubmarine.org. il); Jerusalem Film Festival (www. jff.org.il); Red Sea Festival (www. redseajazzeilat.com); Kirker (020 7593 2284; www.kirkerholidays. com); Crystal (020 7287 9040; www.crystalcruises.co.uk); Silversea 0844 770 9030; www.silversea. com); Prestige (01425 480600; www.thetravellersclub.com); VFB (01452 716838; www.vfbholidays. co.uk); Kudu (01722 716 167; www. kudutravel.com); Menuhin Festival (www.menuhinfestivalgstaad.ch). Great Rail Journeys (01904 521 980; www.GreatRail.com); Andante Travels (01722 713800; www. andantetravels.co.uk) visits to Europe’s great opera festivals and capitals (some including tickets, all with performance briefings) and its own music festival in Ischia.
Art lovers are catered for with expert-led tours of which the new Cote d’Azur itinerary and the Art, Architecture, Tyranny and Patronage tour of Italy’s treasures, are highlights.
Given that the ocean wave is one of the most peaceful venues for a concert, Crystal Cruises is fielding an appealing Baltic journey from Dover including an overnight stay in Stockholm as well as two nights in St Petersburg and calls at Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki, all in June, month of the midnight sun. As well as performances, there will be lectures by celebrity guests.
Silversea prefers to arrange exclusive concerts for its passengers on land, and in 2008 various cruises offer the chance to hear Greig performed at Troldhaugen, Norway, take in a classical concert at ancient Ephesus or enjoy a musical evening at the Hermitage, St Petersburg. Talking of the latter, Prestige are laying on a week in June (again with guaranteed midnight sun) in association with the city’s Rossica Choir, which will arrange special concerts and museum and gallery visits.
March may not have cruising weather, but VFB’s three- night Impressionist Cruise, focusing on the work of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Degas among others, is an appealing and, at £299, inexpensive way to see great Paris museums, including the Orsay and the little riverside village of Auvers-sur-Oise, adopted home of several painters.
For 10 times the price, you could spend 12 days of March in Barbados, including three performances at “the Glyndebourne of the West Indies” — the Holders Season, courtesy of Kudu Travel. A mix of high and low culture will include the Opera Babes, Kit and the Widow and a performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing