[Festivals Stories] Misteria Paschalia Festival / KBF

22 Dec 2021

Misteria Paschalia Festival
1 > 5 April 2021
Krakow, Poland

Early music, classical music

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In 2020 the Misteria Paschalia Festival - one of the most important early music festivals in Europe - was one of the first to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic - not only in Poland but in Europe in general. When they were forced to cancel the festival because of the growing numbers of people being infected and restrictions being tightened every day, they were just a few weeks before the start of one of the biggest editions of the festival ever. It was going to be dedicated to German protestant music with a big focus on Bach, with ensemble Pygmalion, and with Raphaël Pichon as artistic director. The festival was also going to host the REMA general assembly.

They were devastated and angry, so they decided to put together the first ever (at least in Poland) online festival and to do it during the time the festival would have taken place. The festival always happens during the Holy Week and Easter, so moving it forward during the year didn't make a lot of sense to them, especially as for many people it's inseparable part of those celebrations. Of course, it was much too late to prepare a brand new online edition from the start so, using our extraordinary partnerships we have managed to build over the years, we decided to create a kind of nostalgic edition presenting highlights from the history of the Festival.

Our major partners in this endeavour were Mezzo and Progamme 2 of Polish Radio. Thanks to them we were able to present 2 lines: audio recordings dating back as far as 2007, streamed by Polish Radio and shared on the festival Facebook page, and the video part with video streamings of concerts recorded by Mezzo during 2017-2019 editions of the festival. Additionally we included a rich selection of additional materials such as Misteria Paschalia Radio (a series of podcasts), essays connected to the programme, videos and such. Thanks to that and the feeling of solidarity that was there at the very beginning of pandemic we managed to create an amazing community and build a huge audience around the globe. People watched concerts, talked, reacted and that created an unforgettable experience.

The 2021 edition was a hybrid one. Aware of the third COVID wave at the time of the festival we decided to record two concerts in advance abroad, taking full advantage of the lack of audience. This gave them an opportunity to record pieces in different rooms, cross them with pieces of arts, present foreign cities and create an effect impossible to achieve if the concerts had happened live. At the end the whole edition happened online, with 2 other concerts recorded just before the festival.

More information: http://misteriapaschalia.com

(General Editor: Simon Mundy)