Exceptional Music in Exceptional Locations

Exceptional Music in Exceptional Locations

In partnership withBelmond + The London Philharmonic Orchestra

evening sun warms my shoulders as it makes its curtain call
beyond Mount Etna. To my left, the Grecian ruins of Teatro Antico
di Taormina set an awesome backdrop. Out east, waves flecked with
fishing boats dance along the distant bay of Giardini Naxos. Yet as
the glimmer of a trumpet catches my eye, I’m reminded that the real
performance is only just beginning.

I’m at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, a
retreat of whimsical terraces and quirky antiques that has seduced
guests with its old-world charm for well over a century. Oscar
Wilde and Truman Capote wandered its polished parquet floors, and
D. H. Lawrence authored Lady Chatterley’s Lover here.

Set on a precipice with unobstructed views of the sweeping
Sicilian coastline, the hotel’s rooftop balcony ranks among
Europe’s most scenic, and serves as a fitting stage for an esteemed
brass sextet. This is one of the first installments of the Exceptional Music in Exceptional
series, a partnership between Belmond and the London
Philharmonic Orchestra that takes classical music out of the
concert hall and into some of the hotel group’s most spectacular

“We want to celebrate the surroundings of our magical
properties,” says Belmond’s senior vice president, Arnaud
Champenois. “We welcome guests to a world where concerts are not
just beautiful music but sensorial, once-in-a-lifetime travel

His words couldn’t ring more true. From my front-row seat, I
feel the base notes of the tuba conduct my heart beat as the
trombone and trumpets carry spry Sicilian melodies. It’s as if the
music and setting both sing from the same hymn sheet. The orchestra
honours its roots with English tunes including A Rose Without a
Thorn – a musical love note written by Henry VIII to his fifth
wife, Catherine Howard. Other songs take their cue from Italy.
Bellini’s popular aria from the opera Norma is followed by a finale
of local folk music that causes a man beside me to “ooh” and “ahh”
in a way that I think he may get up and dance.

For David Burke, general manager of the London Philharmonic
Orchestra, this enthusiasm is the whole point of the concerts. “We
want to communicate the wonder of classical music,” he says.
“Unlike a concert hall with a full orchestra, settings such as this
create a certain intimacy, a dynamism that keeps the interaction
between musician, location and audience fresh and creates a unique

Indeed, the previous evening I’d been down in Mazzaro Bay at
Timeo’s sister hotel, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea. The
concert here ran to a similar programme and yet, accompanied by the
symphony of lapping waves, its effect felt completely

Now, Belmond invites you on a six-night adventure across
Botswana to find harmony between sound and savanna. Experience the
wilderness in unrivalled depth. At the timeless Belmond Savute
Elephant Lodge, the dynamic plains crescendo in Chobe National
Park, a haven for elephants, hyenas and cheetahs. Later, harness
the spirit of the wetlands from Belmond Eagle Island Lodge. Spot
hippos basking as you take to the skies on a helicopter safari
before retreating to your luxurious tented room. It’s here, at the
heart of the Okavango Delta, that guests will be treated to an
otherworldly performance by a wind quintet from the London
Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Just think: you’re sitting under the starry skies listening to
an arrangement of Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals,”
Champenois continues. “As the joyful tune brings lions, elephants
and wild birds to life, it resonates across the plains with a sense
of humour and playfulness. Dreamy, isn’t it?”

Consider this, then, a siren’s song for world-class music that
strikes a chord with enchanting surrounds. Not just for classical
connoisseurs, these concerts hit all the right notes for those
seeking something out of the everyday.

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