Musicians take the stage at Romanian classical music festival despite pandemic


BUCHAREST, Aug.27 (Reuters) – World-famous orchestras return to Romania’s capital Bucharest on Saturday for its George Enescu Festival, one of Europe’s biggest classical music events, with organizers urging spectators to play by the rules at as COVID cases increase.

The 25th biennial festival will feature 3,500 artists from 32 orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Royal Concertgebouw, and renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Jurowski and Vasily Petrenko.

A host of international artists, including pianist Yuja Wang, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and violinists Joshua Bell and Maxim Vengerov will perform in concert halls that require audiences to wear masks and, in some cases, perform. COVID digital certificates.

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“We will have to learn to live with all these regulations. I don’t think we will be here next time without masks,” said conductor Paavo Jarvi, who will open the month-long festival.

“I think this thing is here to stay and we have to learn to love and live with this new reality.”

Romania is behind on the European Union’s vaccination lists, with just over a fifth of the population, or 5.2 million people, vaccinated amid mistrust of EU institutions. State increases.

The EU state reported more than 900 new cases of the coronavirus for the second day in a row on Friday, its highest daily tally since spring, and officials expect the numbers to rise.

“Vaccination and testing are the biggest challenges of the festival,” said Mihai Constantinescu, executive director of the Enescu festival. “If we have them, we have a festival.”

“We appeal to all who want to listen to good music.… We must take all measures to keep the festival going until September 26th.”

The festival, named after Romania’s most famous composer, will also present a record number of world premieres by contemporary composers, a direction dear to the artistic director of the festival, conductor Vladimir Jurowski.

“The presence of music from the 20th and 21st centuries at this festival is spectacular, the number of pieces performed is greater than ever and we have exceptional artists who engage in contemporary music,” Jurowski said. “It’s the future.”

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Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Richard Chang

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