For classical singers, the thaw has begun. In mid-May in the German city of Wiesbaden, the Austrian bass Günther Groissböck sang songs of Schubert and Mahler to an audience capped at not even 200 in a Baroque jewel box that seats 1,000. With a Wagner encore—Wotan’s Farewell—the artist gave a wistful salute to the new Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festival he was to have dominated this summer. But no, the annual Wagner rapture (founded by the master himself) is on sabbatical for 2020, courtesy of the pandemic.
The equally prestigious, artistically kaleidoscopic Salzburg Festival, on the other hand, is scrambling to salvage what it can of its especially ambitious centennial season. An abbreviated program for August is expected shortly. There, as everywhere else on our radar, the management has strict public-health protocols to contend with.