Program 326: Exploring Poland; Classical Titans

Release Date: 05-18-2013


Guides specializing in eastern and central Europe highlight the charms of Kraków, Poznań, Warsaw, and Gdańsk, where the prices can be as friendly as the people. Also, Fred Plotkin explains how this is a really big anniversary year for opera. He recommends performances celebrating the birthdays of Wagner, Verdi, and Benjamin Britten.


  • Cameron Hewitt, tour guide and co-author of the "Rick Steves' Eastern Europe" guidebook (Avalon Travel)
  • Eszter Bokros, tour guide to central and eastern Europe, based in Budapest
  • Fred Plotkin, author of "Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera" (Hyperion)

Related Links

  • Czestochowa is an important religious city for Poles, where the Jasna Góra Monastery is located, which houses the "Black Madonna" icon.
  • The city of Warsaw has an extensive website in English for visitors.
  • Information about Kraków, Poznań, and Gdańsk, Poland.
  • Rick's TV show episode #310 covers Kraków, Auschwitz, and Warsaw.
  • Rick summarizes his favorite highlights about "charismatic Krakow."
  • The website for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp museum includes a search engine for information about prisoners at the camp.
  • Fred Plotkin has voiced an audio version of his book, "Opera 101."
  • Fred Plotkin's opera blog postings are hosted by classical station WQXR in New York. 
  • Fred recommends the website to plan opera outings in your travels.
  • The Aldeburgh Festival at Snape in East Anglia, UK was founded in 1948 by Benjamin Britten. They have scheduled many special performances of his music, and have a website dedicated to the Benjamin Britten 2013 centennial.
  • Richard Strauss founded the Salzburg Festival.

Program Extras

Pgm 326 extras — Poland - Cameron Hewitt notes that the scruffy port town of Gdynia, Poland is becoming a popular stop for cruise ships on the Baltic Sea, due to its proximity to Gdansk. (runs 0:35)

Pgm 326 extras — Opera - Fred Plotkin tells us which of Wagner's operas he does not care for, and clarifies the difference between Richard Strauss and the Vienna waltz composers with the same surname. (runs 1:34)