Lovers of Frederic Chopin’s music who usually flock to a central Warsaw park on Sundays for open-air concerts will have to go online this season to hear the weekly performances because of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The concerts are a key event in the Polish capital’s summer cultural calendar, with performers serenading citizens in the elegant setting of the Royal Lazienki Park with concertos, nocturnes and other masterworks by the great romantic composer.
But for the first time in more than six decades, the green square dotted with benches near a statue of Chopin had only pre-recorded music pouring from loud speakers on Sunday, when according to tradition the first outdoor concert of the season had been due to start.
Chopin fans who didn’t come to the park could also go onto YouTube (here) to hear the first concert, featuring Polish pianist Karol Radziwonowicz, which had been pre-recorded in the park’s Orangery.
The decision to livestream the concerts, a result of the restrictions on public gatherings, was unsettling, said Andrzej Matusiak, director of Stoleczna Estrada, the group that organizes the annual event.