TOURS WITH A NICHE DIFFERENCE
World-wide travel itineraries focus on a musical experience
DOES a four-night getaway to Sydney to see West Side Story on Sydney Harbour tickle your fancy? How about a 10-night ‘mini-festival’ in Tonga, or a stunning Italian tour to the Verdi Festival and La Scala with special music-related visits, and of course, plenty of good food and wine? A niche travel company on the Sunshine Coast is organising tour itineraries with a variety of musical performances and experiences which sell out quickly. The owners behind the company are baritone Stewart Cameron and soprano Jennifer Parish, who many will know as OPERATIF!. Since 1994, the couple have been the producers of renowned offerings of opera and song in Australia and beyond and see the expansion to producing tours with music as quite a natural one. Attention to detail and an understanding of what people enjoy, is required in both activities they say. Their first tour was in response to concert clients requesting exactly what Jennifer and Stewart now offer! Seven years on from the overwhelming success of their first tour, the pair now tailor-make each one, ranging from a few days in Sydney for Opera on the Harbour, to musical escapes in the South Pacific and showcase ours to Europe and the UK. The common thread is the inclusion of carefully chosen music in each itinerary, from traditional folk to opera and orchestral, usually all three! What is most unique about Music Lovers Tours, is that Stewart and Jennifer, not only decide what they wish to offer and where, they then lovingly construct each tour from the ground up, negotiating and booking direct with hotels, theatres, opera houses, tour guides, museums, coach companies and airlines. “Of course, if would be far easier to book an ‘off the shelf’ tour from an agency, tweak it a bit, add on a margin and then sell it,” said Stewart, “but that would mean giving over control and flexibility. “Worst of all, it would deprive us of the satisfaction of sourcing such special experiences for our clients. “We enjoy choosing just the right hotels, restaurants and so on and because we host each tour and meet our suppliers in person, the level of service we receive, is far, far higher. “Our clients keep telling us this too, especially when they’re enjoying ‘best seats in the house’ at a venue such as La Scala!” Tours on the horizon in 2019 (which still have places!) are a delightful four nights in Sydney for West Side Story on Sydney Harbour in April and a fabulous 10-night ‘mini-festival’ in Tonga, with concerts by Australia and NZ performers, island tours, local musicians and convivial meals ensuring a memorable August holiday. In May 2020, there is Southern Passion, a fascinating immersion in the islands of Sicily and Malta and in October, Viva Verdi, a stunning Italian tour to the Verdi Festival.
Previous Operatif! tours have included a trip to the UK to see La Scala.