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‘Strife & Harmony’
VIGNICASTRISI, PUGLIA, ITALY

MONDAY 2 – SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2024

 “If you love both singing and travel, don’t miss out on this experience – it’s unforgettable”  Dick, Canada

OVERVIEW

Overview

Singers Abroad launches its first ever course in the beautiful region of Puglia in southern Italy!  Based in the unspoilt town of Vignicastrisi, just inland from the Salento peninsular coast in the ‘heel’ of Italy, the course takes place in the beautiful 18th-century Palazzo Guglielmo, a former mayoral mansion that opens its doors directly on to the town’s main piazza.  Singers Abroad has exclusive access to the entire hotel throughout our course.  The course takes advantage of the beautiful late summer sun during the first week of September, when the weather is usually perfect.  Individually-styled rooms are located off the hotel’s enchanting central courtyard.  Within the hotel’s beautiful gardens there are many shaded locations for a quiet place to read (or practise!) under the fragrant orange trees.  The hotel offers a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, a vast roof terrace with hot tub, plus spa and gym facilities, and bicycles for explore the local vicinity. Delicious homemade produce is offered at the hotel’s breakfast, and our group meals are served in the hotel’s traditional restaurant, Casa dell’Angelo, which sits next door.  A public bar, with direct access from the hotel, is open daily, and additionally there is an honesty bar within the hotel for hotel guests.  Puglian wines flow aplenty in the late summer sun!

 
By popular request, our Singers Abroad courses this year will be six nights each, allowing a little more time for additional rehearsals, socialising, and excursions!  Our Puglia course includes five days of singing under the direction of Graham Ross leading to performances at sung Mass and a concert at the beautiful church directly opposite the hotel on the Saturday evening.  

 

For this course Graham Ross has assembled a beautiful and varied programme, ‘Strife & Harmony’, consisting of choral masterpieces across the centuries including motets by Tallis and Tomkins, spirituals by Undine Smith Moore and Moses Hogan, partsongs by Richard Rodney Bennett and Bob Chilcott, and the immensely beautiful double-choir Mass in E flat by Josef Rheinberger.

 

The course comprises a mix of serious singing and holiday, with daily singing as well as group excursions on the Wednesday afternoon to the Baroque splendour of Lecce – the capital city of the Salento region, and on Friday afternoon to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello and its spectacular and historic limestone trulli houses.  We also visit the ancient underground oil mills in the nearby picturesque town of Presicce and taste the locally-produced olive oils for which the region is world famous.  

 

Rehearsals take place in the main building of the hotel, in what was one the private house of Don Pippi Guglielmo’s family.  Beautiful home-made breakfasts are served daily in the hotel and by the shade of the pool.  Seven group meals with wine are all provided as part of the course.

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WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

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The Singers Abroad course is for those who love to sing together. Participants should have a strong level of choral singing experience, good sight-reading skills, and have done some private preparation of the repertoire before the course begins.  Singers of all ages can apply, either as individuals or with others.  

 

The course runs from Monday evening, when we meet for an opening drinks reception and a group dinner in the hotel, to the closing Mass, Concert and dinner on Saturday evening and departure the following morning.  Concert dress is white shirts/blouses with long black trousers/skirts.  Participants should bring their own black folders for the performances.  Non-singing partners are welcome to join us, subject to availability, at a discounted price.  Should participants wish to extend their stay in Salento, Singers Abroad can arrange for extra nights’ accommodation in Palazzo Guglielmo at an extra cost, subject to availability.  

 

Participants should bring their own copies of the repertoire: details of recommended editions and a link to scores that can be downloaded are circulated to participants after bookings have been confirmed.

“Chamber singing with expert and friendly instruction in a setting that is nothing short of idyllic”  George, England

BOOKINGS

Bookings

Booking is now open for our course in Vignicastrisi, Puglia from 2–8 September 2024.  We accept applications of all voice parts on a first-come first-served basis.

PRICINGS

All rooms at Palazzo Guglielmo are unique, and due to the historic nature of the building, are particularly well suited to those sharing. The Singers Abroad course costs £1245 per person sharing a room with private bathroom (£1145 for non-singing partners, subject to availability).  For those willing to share use of one bathroom between two bedrooms, there is a limited number of rooms at a reduced rate of £1145 per person sharing the room (£1045 for non-singing partners).  For single-occupancy, subject to availability, there is a supplement of £38 per night to the above rates.  A deposit of £250 per person is required when booking, which is non-refundable after the deadline of 1 May 2024.  The full balance is required by 1 July 2024.  

 

What is provided in the cost?

The course includes:

  • six nights of bed & breakfast ensuite accommodation at Palazzo Guglielmo, Vignicastri, Puglia

  • seven excellent group meals with wine

  • welcome and farewell receptions on the opening and closing nights

  • musical tuition (in English) under the direction of Graham Ross

  • a closing Mass and Concert in the church of Vignicastrisi, directly opposite the hotel

  • group excursions to the city of Lecce and the UNESCO site of Alberobello, plus local olive oil tasting, with transportation provided

  • great music making and new friendships!

What is not provided in the cost?

The course does not include:

  • transportation to/from Puglia 

  • purchase of music

  • health/travel insurance: we recommend that all singers take out their own holiday and cancellation cover

Insurance

Singers Abroad Limited is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with the current “The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations” all passengers booking with Singers Abroad Limited are fully insured for the initial deposit, and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form. The policy will also include repatriation if required, arising from the cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Singers Abroad Limited.  This Policy is issued by Evolution Insurance Company Limited which is registered in Gibraltar No. 88737 with a registered office at 5/5 Crutchett’s Ramp, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.  Evolution Insurance Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Commission in Gibraltar and authorised and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.  Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the FCA are available from us on request.

 

In the unlikely event of Insolvency of Singers Abroad Limited please follow the procedures below: Claims should be submitted in writing within 14 days of the Administration order or Singers Abroad Limited being declared insolvent supported by documented evidence quantifying the value of the claim.  Claims should be submitted to: Evolution Insurance Solutions Limited, 53A High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1AA or via email to claims@evo-insurance.com.  Policy exclusions: This policy will not cover any monies paid back to you by your Travel Insurance or any losses which are recoverable under another insurance or bond (with the exception of Credit and Debit card).  This policy will also not cover any loss sustained by Passenger(s) booked on a flight-inclusive package sold and commencing within the United Kingdom.  Policy Period covers bookings made within the dates 1 October 2023 – 30 September 2024 regardless of date of travel.

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COURSE LEADER & CONDUCTOR

Personnel
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Graham Ross has established an exceptional reputation as a sought-after conductor and composer of a very broad range of repertoire.  His performances around the world and his extensive discography have earned consistently high international praise.  He is Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he conducts the internationally-renowned Choir, co-founder and Principal Conductor of The Dmitri Ensemble, and in demand as a regular guest conductor around the world.  Recent collaborations have included the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Mozart Players, BBC Concert Orchestra, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Norwegian Wind Ensemble and BBC Singers.

 

In recent seasons his work has taken him to Sydney Opera House, Washington’s Library of Congress, Notre Dame Cathedral and across Europe.  At the age of 25 he made his BBC Proms and Glyndebourne debuts, with other opera work taking him to Jerusalem, London, Aldeburgh and Provence.  He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge and conducting at the Royal College of Music, London.

OUTLINE SCHEDULE

Schedule

Monday 2 September 2024

Check-in from 3pm onwards at Palazzo Guglielmo, Vignicastrisi, Puglia

Welcome evening drinks reception
Group dinner at hotel

 
Tuesday 3 September 2024
Morning rehearsal

Group lunch at hotel

Afternoon rehearsal

Local group dinner


Wednesday 4 September 2024
Morning rehearsal
Group lunch at hotel

Afternoon excursion to Baroque city of Lecce

 

Thursday 5 September 2024
Morning rehearsal

Afternoon rehearsal

Late afternoon excursion to nearby Presicce for olive oil tasting

Group dinner at hotel

 

Friday 6 September 2024
Morning rehearsal

Afternoon excursion to UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello

Group buffet dinner at hotel

 

Saturday 7 September 2024
Free morning

Afternoon dress rehearsal in church

Evening Mass and Concert

Farewell drinks reception

Group dinner at hotel

 

Sunday 8 September 2024

Participants depart (check-out by 12pm)

TRAVEL

Travel

Travel to and from Vignicastrisi is organised by participants directly, and is not provided in the cost.  However, with permission, we are happy to share details of participants’ travel plans amongst the group in advance to facilitate the option of booking group transfers to/from airports.

 

By air: the nearest airports are Brindisi (95km / 1.5 hours) and Bari (215km / 2.5 hours), which both offer plenty of links with other cities in Italy and Europe.  

 

By train: Participants wishing to make use of Italy’s excellent railway network can travel by train via Lecce to Spongano, which is 5km from the hotel.  From there it is possible to take a taxi to the hotel.  

 

By car: Transportation for all group outings during the course is provided by Singers Abroad, but participants may wish to hire a car to make the most of the area.  The hotel has a private free parking area.

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REPERTOIRE

Repertoire
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For this course Graham Ross has programmed Josef Rheinberger’s Mass in E flat: a double-choir a cappella masterpiece of immense beauty, which we will perform liturgically during Mass on Saturday evening at the beautiful church in the central plaza directly opposite the hotel. The course will also work on a concert programme of ‘Strife and Harmony’ which will follow directly after the Mass: a beautiful and varied programme from across the centuries.  The programme will include selections from the following:

 

The concert programme will include selections from the following:

Strife and Harmony’

Josef Rheinberger Mass in E flat

Thomas Tallis Why fum’th in sight

Thomas Campion Never weather-beaten sail

Thomas Tomkins When David heard that Absalom was slain

Moses Hogan Joshua fit the battle of Jericho

John Rutter Ukrainian Prayer

Caroline Shaw and the swallow

Undine Smith Moore We shall walk through the valley in peace

Alice Parker & Robert Shaw Swing low, sweet chariot

Richard Rodney Bennett A Good-Night

Ken Burton Rest

Bob Chilcott And so it goes

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