Aria Tours has been operating since October of 2006, and in a very short span, has become one of North America’s leading opera travel companies.
The brainchild of David Merritt, an accomplished opera tour planner and director, and Alexander Mortimer, a successful musician, author and a long-standing fixture in the Ottawa business community, Aria Tours thrived immediately as a result of word-of-mouth referrals and repeat travellers after its first few itineraries. In its first season of operation, the Metropolitan Opera Guild expressed interest in several of the Aria Tours itineraries, which led to a very successful partnership.
Aria Tours is based in Almonte, Ontario, Canada.
The Aria Team
DAVID MERRITT – President and Tour Director
David has been arranging and directing opera tours around the globe since 2000. His attention to detail and focus on client service has won wide praise from those with whom he has travelled. David has a degree in English Literature and Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and he studied Law at the University of British Columbia. He is also an accomplished musician, having released numerous recordings since 1994 as a member of various groups. His compositions have received substantial radio play in Canada, as well as in the US and Europe. He is a member of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.
RICHARD KOEGL – Tour Director
Richard is an experienced director and planner of high end educational, cultural and adventure tours, and is one of the most widely respected and sought after experts on comparative cultural and educational travel.
Richard received his Masters in Music in Paris and is highly regarded for his work as a travel photographer, shooting for tour operators, travel magazines and America’s leading cultural, educational and scientific agencies including National Geographic Traveler, Butterfield & Robinson and Holland America Cruises.
TANA ROSS – Tour Director
Tana grew up in Sweden and has lived in New York City for the past 40 years. She has been directing tours world-wide for many years and has worked as a guide in New York. Among the many cultural and study groups she has directed over the years, she has always taken great pleasure in leading opera groups. She has made several award-winning documentaries, does voice-over work and simultaneous translation for theatre and films.
EMANUELA MORONI – Tour Director
Since 1993, Emanuela Moroni has been a professional guide in Turin and the entire region of Piemonte, as well as in Milan. Between 2010-2014, she was the President of the Piedmont Tour Guides Association. Since 1991, she has directed tours for groups in Italy, the U.K., Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Switzerland, Spain (mainland, Balearic and Canary Islands), Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, South Africa, Maldives, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Mongolia, Indonesia, Canada, U.S.A. (East and West Coast, Florida with Keys Islands, Louisiana, National Parks), Cuba, Jamaica, Caribbean Islands, Brazil, and Polynesia.
In addition to being a warm and professional director and guide, Emanuela is a committed ecologist and cyclist, often leading her tours on two wheels! She speaks Italian (mother tongue), English, French, German, and Chinese (Cantonese).
CRISTINA AIMONETTO – Tour Director
Cristina Aimonetto has been working as a freelance tourist guide in Italy since 2004. She has extensive experience with foreign groups, organizing tailor-made tours for visiting museums, royal residences and Italy’s numerous wine cellars. Cristina is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and passion for Italy, its culture and music, and she will ensure that you experience the best her country has to offer.
With a Bachelor of Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Turin, Cristina speaks Italian, English, Mandarin, French and German. Cristina’s interests range from mountain-biking and ice-climbing to guiding at the Museum for Oriental Art in Turin. Her energy is contagious, as is her love of Italy and all it has to offer.
JAN MURANTY – Tour Director
Jan is our Central European expert and one of our primary directors. He has led countless opera tours over the years and is not only a superb director but also one of the finest guides in Warsaw, his hometown. He has escorted our groups in Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Educated as a classical musician, Jan holds a Master of Arts in Composition and Theory of Music, but has incorporated his love and knowledge of history to his cultural tour directing. He is fluent in several languages and has worked as a translator. He lives in Warsaw with his wife and two children.