Stellar Opera Nights at the Met
with Fred Plotkin

Curtains up!

Opera has come back to life everywhere, including the glorious Metropolitan Opera in New York. Throughout the pandemic, this was one of the few theaters anywhere to never cancel a performance and it remains a destination for people who love opera.

Fred Plotkin, world-famous opera expert and gastronome, has curated a cultured and pleasurable visit to his home town that will include three operas, two concerts, great food and time for pursuing your own interests. Hear established stars and discover new ones in this immersion into the classics (La Forza del Destino, Roméo et Juliette, Madama Butterfly) at the Metropolitan Opera. Go to the Laffont Grand Finals concert as the top young singers compete for prizes. Attend the New York Philharmonic in its newly refurbished home for a program of works by Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Learn from opera expert Fred Plotkin, who will also select menus and wines for fine dining in some of New York’s best restaurants.

Trip Details

March 12 – March 18, 2024

7 days

Prices Per Person
$5,285 per person




Arrive in New York. Please note no hotel is offered as part of this package. Guests are free to stay where they prefer. We recommend staying at 1 Hotel Central Park. Meet the tour manager in the 1 Hotel Central Park lobby and walk to a nearby restaurant for a welcoming dinner. Get to know your culture-loving fellow travelers.

Included Meals: (D)

Most of the day is at leisure, perhaps visit the shops, galleries, old and new landmarks and distinctive neighborhoods in Manhattan and the other boroughs. Fred Plotkin can provide you with suggestions to suit your interests. Join Fred for a discussion about this evening’s performance. Enjoy a pre-concert dinner. Take your seat in the David Geffen Hall and enjoy the remarkable new acoustics as New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden conducts a program of Mendelssohn’s String Symphony no. 13, Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 17 (Conrad Tao, soloist) and Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5.

Included Meals: (D)

Morning at leisure, then gather for lunch and conversation with Fred to review last night’s concert. Afternoon at leisure, perhaps visit one of the many wonderful museums in New York. At 7:30 p.m. take your seat. In her first Met assignment, conductor Xian Zhang leads the exquisite Anthony Minghella production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with a superb cast led by Italian soprano Eleonora Buratto, mezzo Elizabeth DeShong and tenor Matthew Polenzani.

Included Meals: (L)

Morning at leisure on your own. Mid-afternoon gather with Fred for conversation about tonight’s performance followed by a delicious dinner. Walk across the street to the Metropolitan Opera and take your seats for Gounod’s , Roméo et Juliette with Benjamin Bernheim and Nadine Sierra as the star-crossed lovers led by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Included Meals: (D)

Enjoy a full day at leisure or opt to attend the 12 pm performance of the Met’s legendary Zeffirelli production of Puccini’s Turandot, we can arrange tickets for you. At 4:30 pm join your fellow-opera lovers for an excellent pre-opera meal with compelling discussions about the works you have seen and will see this evening. A possible guest will join you tonight. At 7 pm attend a new production of  Verdi’s La Forza del Destino at the Met with soprano Lise Davidsen (opera’s hottest star) and tenor Brian Jagde, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Included Meals: (D)

This afternoon attend the Laffont Grand Finals concert at the Met. Each year more than 1,000 applicants compete in a series of regional auditions before a dozen take the Met stage in pursuit of cash prizes and launching major singing careers. Pick your own winners and see if the judges agree. Gather for a fitting farewell dinner.

Included Meals: (D)

Nourished by music and all kinds of cultural and social stimulation that is part of time spent in New York, return home renewed. (no meals).

Your Host

Portrait of Fred Plotkin

Fred Plotkin

Fred Plotkin is one of the world’s foremost opera experts, noted for the depth and breadth of his knowledge and for the joy and ease with which he shares it. He is the author of Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera, the best-selling standard text in America for opera education. He is the author of seven books on Italian food and wine (including Rick Steves Italy for Food Lovers, published January 2023). He has lectured, taught, consulted and held managerial or artistic roles at many top opera companies, including La Scala; the Metropolitan Opera; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He led opera and food symposia for New York Times Journeys and, since April 24, 2020, has hosted  Fred Plotkin on Fridays, a weekly program of cultured conversations seen worldwide on Idagio.com.

Reserve Your Spot Today!

This trip is limited to 25 travelers and can be booked with a $500 deposit.

1155 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036

Recommended Accommodations

This is a boutique property located close to Central Park. There is plenty of greenery throughout the property and a living green façade greets guests on arrival. The emphasis on greenery and the use of natural materials create a calming retreat from the city bustle outside. All guest rooms include organic bedding, filtered water taps, free wifi and a nespresso coffee machine, hepa air filters, five-minute shower timer and digital newspapers. There is a limited number of rooms with two beds. There are several farm-to-fork dining options in the hotel including in-room dining and a market stand in the lobby with fresh seasonal fruit; imperfect in appearance these fruits would otherwise have been discarded by local grocers but are tasty and available to hotel guests.

The tour manager will be staying here.

Please contact the hotel to confirm and pay for your hotel stay. A preferred rate of $359 for an Alcove King and $469 for a City Double has been negotiated and a block of rooms are held on option through the end of January 2024.

What's Included

Metropolitan Opera House, New York
  • Tickets to three operas at The Metropolitan Opera in Orchestra Premium seats
  • Tickets to the Laffont finals at the Metropolitan Opera in Prime seats
  • Tickets to the New York Philharmonic in Orchestra seats
  • All meals with drinks as outlined in the itinerary
  • Comprehensive educational program with talks and discussions led by Fred Plotkin and guests
  • Gratuities to wait staff in restaurants during group meals
  • The assistance of an ATA tour manager
  • The assistance of an ATA professional travel team to assist with pre-trip questions, travel arrangements, including flights, and other services
  • Comprehensive pre-departure mailings and materials with information about the destination and what to expect on tour, including a suggested reading list.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance


Our trips have a maximum group size of 25 people. They are large enough to meet new people with diverse backgrounds, but small enough to be on a first-name basis with everyone.

For all three opera performances at the Met, we have Orchestra premium seats. For the Laffont finals we have Prime seats. For the optional extra opera (Turandot) we can offer Orchestra Premium seats for an additional $320. Tickets to the New York Philharmonic in Orchestra seats.

Yes, absolutely! There are always a good number of solo travelers on our trips, and they are welcomed with open arms. Group meals generally take place at medium to large tables, and our Tour Managers ensure that everyone is included in conversation.

Travelers should be in good health and able to walk up to 2 miles (with stops) and be able to navigate stairs unassisted. In the city, we do try to walk from place to place due to traffic congestion and also in keeping with our commitment to environmental sustainability. Please note the suggested hotel is at least a 15-minute walk from the Metropolitan Opera House.

The focus of this trip is really on the performances and discussions about them, which are usually before/during a meal. Otherwise, there is plenty of leisure time to rest and prepare for the performances or explore the city on your own.

On this trip, our main focus is opera — with four performances and lively talks and discussions with Fred. We have not included museum visits so that individual travelers can explore the city’s offerings according to their own personal preferences. Fred will be happy to provide recommendations on what to see and do during your leisure time in New York.

Group meals will be specially-curated by Fred, but every effort will be made to accommodate any special diet requests you may have (e.g., low salt, vegetarian or vegan). Please discuss your requests with us when signing up for a trip.

We’ll send you a detailed packing list well before departure so you know what you’ll need. We provide the rest: an engaging daily itinerary, expert trip management and access to people and places that will thrill and delight you.

Yes! Tips to restaurant staff are all included in the trip price. Your Trip Expert and Tour Manager however, will not accept tips.

Wine is included in the trip price for all group meals. Any additional alcoholic beverages are not included in the program price.

Airfare to and from New York is not included in the price in order to give you maximum flexibility in choosing your preferences for air travel. This way you can use frequent flier upgrades, depart from your airport of choice, or add pre- and post- trip extensions with no constraints. Please refrain from booking your airfare until your Guest Services Advisor reaches out to confirm your departure.

All cancellations must be submitted in writing (email or fax) to Academic Travel Abroad, Inc. (ATA). Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of the cancellation notice reaching ATA. Up to 120 days prior to departure; refund of deposit less an administration fee of 50% of deposit. Cancellation between 119-91 days before departure: 100% of deposit is forfeited. Cancellation between 90-61 days, 50% of the trip price is forfeited. Cancellation within 60 days of departure: no refund. Cancellation on day of departure or after trip departs: no refund. No refund for unused portions of trip, including, but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights and sightseeing. In the event the trip is cancelled by ATA for any reason, a full refund would be issued.

We strongly suggest purchasing travel insurance to help protect your investment and provide you with financial recourse should you face trip cancellation or interruption due to sickness or quarantine. When purchasing a policy, please consult with a trip insurance agent to review what COVID-19- related contingencies are covered. While ATA will do our best to recover any unused portion of your trip due to sickness, it is often the case that payments cannot be refunded. We recommend using our partner insurance provider, Travel Insurance Services, which offers three different policies for you to choose from.

After you reserve your trip and pay your deposit, you will be sent detailed information about your itinerary, insurance information, a Participant Information Form, a packing list, and other information needed to prepare for your trip. Your Guest Services Advisor will reach out when it’s time to book airfare and hotel nights after a minimum of 10 travelers have enrolled on your departure. Final trip details will be sent roughly 2-3 weeks before departure.