Hopkinson Smith Dinner

Hopkinson Smith - Friday 29 November 2019

Swiss-American lutenist Hopkinson Smith is internationally recognised as the world's leading exponent of the lute. Join us aboard MV Sydney 2000 and the glittering backdrop of Sydney Harbour for a special dinner cruise and performance - the only Sydney city venue for his 2019 Australian Tour Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute.

Captain Cook Cruises is pleased to announce MV Sydney 2000 and the glittering backdrop of Sydney Harbour has been chosen as the only Sydney venue for Hopkinson Smith's 2019 Australian Tour Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute, featuring Elizabethan masterpieces (1590 to 1600) by Dowland, Holborne, Johnson and more.

Swiss-American lutenist Hopkinson Smith has performed and given master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Korea and Japan. Since the mid-80’s, he has focused almost exclusively on the solo  repertoires for the early plucked instrument. He is internationally recognised as the world's leading exponent of the lute.

"Hopkinson Smith, without doubt the finest lute player in the world today." San Francisco Chronicle

"Hopkinson Smith himself is still at the top: technically more confident and mellowed than ever, intellectually razor-sharp and clear-sighted." BR-Klassik, Germany, 2 July 2017

"Smith’s approach is the same: locate the soul of each piece through the most sophisticated and subtle use of extemporized embellishment you’ll ever hear. Yes, it’s that good." Gramophone, England, September 2017

"Hopkinson Smith is surely the most charismatic lutenist in the world today." Kronen Zeitung, Austria, 3 January 2018

"Lute player Hopkinson Smith is still a phenomenon at the age of seventy. No one can bring the Renaissance to life in a way that is as sprightly, as crisp and with as much melancholy as he." De Standaard - Cultuur en Media, Belgium, 26 July 2017

Hopkinson Smith biography 

Born in New York in 1946, Swiss-American lutenist Hopkinson Smith graduated from Harvard with Honors in Music in 1972. His instrumental studies took him to Europe where he worked with Emilio Pujol, a great pedagogue in the highest Catalan artistic tradition, and with the Swiss lutenist, Eugen Dombois, whose sense of organic unity between performer, instrument, and historical period has had lasting effects on him. He has been involved in numerous chamber music projects and was one of the founding members of the ensemble Hespèrion XX. Since the mid-80’s, he has focused almost exclusively on the solo repertoires for early plucked instrument, producing a series of prize-winning recordings for Astrée and Naïve, which feature Spanish music for vihuela and baroque guitar, French lute music of the Renaissance and baroque, English and Italian music of the 16th early 17th century and music from the German high baroque.

The recording of his lute arrangements of the Bach solo violin Sonatas and Partitas, released in the year 2000, has been universally acclaimed by the press. Gramophone magazine called it “the best recording of these works on any instrument”. A Dowland recording, released in early 2005, won a Diapason d’Or and was called ‘wonderfully personal’ in a review in the New York Times. A recording with music from the world of Francesco da Milano, was awarded a Diapason d’Or de l’Année (the French equivalent of a Grammy award) in November 2009 and has been called “the first recording to do justice to Francesco’s reputation.” A CD with the first three Bach Cello Suites played on the German Theorbo was released in early 2013, has also won a Diapason d’Or and was called “totally riveting” in the BBC Music Magazine.

Hopkinson Smith has performed and given master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan sometimes combining the life-style of a hermit with that of a gypsy. In 2007 and 2009, he gave concerts and workshops in Palestine under the auspices of the Barenboim-Said Foundation and the Swiss Arts Council. In 2010, he received the music prize from the Italian Region of Puglia with the inscription “maestro dei maestri, massimo interprete delle musiche per liuto dell’antica Europa Mediterranea”. He lives in Basel, Switzerland where he teaches at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.  

Visit hopkinsonsmith.com for more

Program Background by H. Smith

"John Dowland, though also a sprightly and humorous composer, is most famous for the darker side of his character and the pervading melancholy that nourished his unquiet soul. But he was in no way the inventor of highly charged melodic poignancy in solo lute music. 

Two important composers of the generation of English lutenists that preceded him clearly show signs of great invention including moments of tormented yearnings which led to music of extraordinary depth. John Johnson (died in 1594) and Anthony Holborne (died in 1602) were the most prominent lutenists to remain in England during the Elizabethan period (Dowland spent many years on the Continent). 

Their œuvre contains rhapsodic Pavans of lyrical intensity and richness of harmony, spirited Galliards, striking character pieces (one of which is entitled “Mad Dog”) and elaborate variations. They were both virtuosos of the highest calibre as the daring of their diminution techniques attests. This program highlights theirs and Dowland’s masterpieces from the 1580s and 90s." - H. Smith

Children Under 18 Years

Please note children under 18 years must be accompanied by an adult on all dining cruises.

*About Your Vessel
Cruise aboard Sydney’s premier fleet including the spectacular Sydney 2000 and John Cadman 2, both with million dollar views and expansive cocktail decks. Our world class vessels are chosen for many international VIP dignitaries including the official arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for World Youth Day. Air-conditioned restaurant decks, private dining rooms, expansive decks and 360 degree open Star Deck are just a few of the features. Special attention has been made to ensure fantastic views from every seat with below table height windows. Sydney 2000 operates on dining cruises most days however we do always reserve the right to amend vessels at any time.

Dress: We recommend Smart Casual


Accessibility for people with a Disability Policy

Responsible Service of Alcohol Policy


  • Friday 29 November 2019
  • Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute one-hour performance
  • 3-course premium menu
  • Wine, beer & softdrinks
  • Individual table seating
  • Million dollar views
  • Cruise on MV Sydney 2000 Show Deck
  • From 7.30pm, up to 3.5 hours
  • Menu

Need to know

  • Hopkinson Smith - Friday 29 November 2019
  • $199 per person
  • Programme available for purchase on the night
  • Download flyer
  • Special Event Conditions
  • Credit Card Fraud Prevention
    - At check-in you will be required to present the credit card used to purchase your cruise online



Departs Darling Harbour King Street Wharf No.1
Friday 29 November 2019 7.30pm. Disembark 11pm

Download Wynyard Walk Map

Car Parking  Please check your date for road closures 

Find Us

YOUR SAY STARLIGHT DINNER -  A big THANK YOU to Lissa who looked after us last Saturday night. She was only too happy to help us out in celebrating our Mother's 50th birthday! Vanessa, NZ

Hopkinson Smith Dinner

Dinner, drinks & the only Sydney performance of 'Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute', November 29

New Years Eve in Sydney

Nobody celebrates New Years Eve like Sydney. Front row seats to all the action on sale now

Free Birthday Cruise

Enjoy a free cruise for your Birthday plus year round exclusive offers as a member of the Captains Club

Hopkinson Smith Performance

Special Sydney performance of 'Mad Dog: The Elizabethan Lute', dinner & drinks November 29