Herbert blomstedt

Enter the parallel universe that is the Lucerne Festival

There wasn’t going to be a Lucerne Festival this year. The annual month-long squillion-dollar international beano got cancelled, along with the rest of Europe’s musical life, round about the time that we were all starting to get bored of banana bread. Then suddenly, in late July, it was on again. The Swiss government authorised distanced and masked audiences of up to a thousand, and a series of nine concerts was rapidly improvised with locally available talent — which, when you have the determination, contacts and (crucially) bank balance of the Lucerne Festival, means people such as Cecilia Bartoli, Igor Levit and, for these opening concerts, Martha Argerich and Herbert Blomstedt,