Music of Berlin and the Bayou


Classical music enthusiasts can attend a series of performances on a 10-day escorted tour to the Festtage '97 music festival in Berlin beginning March 23.

Conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim has assembled internationally acclaimed performers, including violinist Itzhak Perlman, conductor Pierre Boulez, the Orchestre de Paris, and pianists Radu Lupu and Martha Argerich for the music festival. Performances showcase works by Schubert, Schonberg, Stravinsky and Wagner. Tour participants will attend six concerts.

Excursions to Potsdam to see the Sans Souci palace, the city of Dresden and the Dahlem Museum complex in Berlin also are on the itinerary.

Cost: $3,395 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, daily breakfast, orchestra seats to all performances, some meals, and group activities and excursions. Not included: air fare to Germany. Contact: Gilded Age Tours, 2443 Fair Oaks Blvd., No. 287, Sacramento, CA 95825; telephone (800) 737-9854.

Rock of New Orleans

"The Sounds of Louisiana: From Bourbon Street to the Bayou," a tour that explores the history of music in the New Orleans region, will take place March 4 to 10. Participants learn about gospel, blues, R&B;, jazz, zydeco, Cajun and rock 'n' roll. Participants will visit nightclubs in the French Quarter and attend lectures by Louisiana music historians. The itinerary includes behind-the-scenes tours and backstage visits, so participants can meet people who write, produce and promote music.

They also will explore the architecture and cuisine of the region, tour the area's swampland and visit the Voodoo Museum.

Cost: $1,995 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, tours and meals. Not included: transportation to New Orleans. Contact: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; tel. (216) 515-1217.

Cooking at Yosemite

The Ahwahnee Hotel at Yosemite National Park is hosting its midwinter Chef's Holiday program Feb. 2 to 5. Chefs from restaurants throughout California will hold cooking demonstrations mornings and afternoons in the main ballroom of the hotel. A welcome reception on the first evening allows tour participants to meet the chefs. A final banquet on Feb. 5 is prepared by the chef-instructors. Guests stay three nights at the Ahwahnee or at the nearby Yosemite Lodge, take three cooking classes and take a tour of the historic Ahwahnee and its kitchen.

Cost: $499 per person, double occupancy at the Ahwahnee; $379 per person, double occupancy at Yosemite Lodge. Both prices include transportation via Amtrak, cooking demonstrations and two meals. Contact: California Discovery Tours, 25201 Paseo De Alicia, Suite 100, Laguna Hills, CA 92653; tel. (800) 225-8728.

Southern France

Gardens and villas built for the 19th century rich on terraced hillsides along the Mediterranean are part of the itinerary of a southern France tour from May 16 to 26. The tour starts and ends in Nice, but there is a three-night optional extension to the island of Corsica, reached in three hours by boat from the mainland.

Among the gardens to be visited are those of Baroness Rothschild at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the Monaco Jardin Exotique, the Hanbury Gardens across the border in Italy and Serre de la Madone.

Aix-en-Provence, Cezanne's birthplace, is the base for touring the Provencal hinterland. Stops include St. Remy and Arles, known for its 2,000-year-old amphitheater, and where Van Gogh spent his most productive period.

On the program are picnics; flower, vegetable and craft markets; and visits to a winery and to the perfume center of Grasse.

Cost: $3,190 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, tours, events and most meals. Not included: international air fare. Cost of extension tour to Corsica: $960 per person, double occupancy, including transfer to Corsica, hotel, tours, events and most meals.

Contact: Ingatours, 5 The Dell, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3EW, England; tel. (800) 581-0911 (please take into account that England is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time) or U.S. agent Marilyn Emdebrant, tel. (800) 786-5311.

Venice in Winter

Two trips to Venice, Italy, are scheduled for winter: Feb. 20 for nine nights and March 2 for eight nights. Visits will be made to the Accademia Museum, the Frari Church and Scuola di San Rocco. A one-day trip to Verona also is included. The nine-night program adds a trip to the islands of Burano and Torcello.

Cost: from $2,015 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, daily continental breakfast, lunch or dinner daily in restaurants, sightseeing with entrance fees, ground transportation, gratuities and all taxes. Air fare is not included. Contact: Victoria Goyet, Endless Beginnings Tours, 12650 Sabre Springs Parkway, Suite 207-105, San Diego, CA 92128-4114; tel. (800) 822-7855 or (619) 679-5374.

St. Patrick's Ireland

Join the St. Patrick's Week tour, organized annually by All Roads of Travel in Sacramento, to the Emerald Isle March 12 to 20. Participants will visit Shannon, Kerry, Blarney, Waterford, Dublin, Connemara and Galway. Guests will see a St. Patrick's Day parade and drink a glass of green Guinness at a pub. At Blackrock Castle participants will hear traditional Irish music.

Cost: $820 per person, double occupancy, including seven nights' accommodations, full Irish breakfast daily, six dinners, touring bus, services of a driver/guide, all sightseeing, taxes and gratuities. A group air fare is available from California to Ireland for $550 round trip. The air fare includes optional stopovers in London in either direction. Contact: All Roads of Travel, 3201 Eastwood Road, Sacramento, CA 95821; tel. (916) 486-8786.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators.

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