I’ve written a lead piece for the Spectator under the sub-head: ‘The traditions of the Salzburg, Lucerne and Verbier festivals were built on fear, vanity and Nazi gold. Why would anyone miss them?’
You can read the full article here if you are a subscriber.
If not, here’s a teaser:
… Between the mid-1950s and 1980s, the Salzburg summer festival – along with two extra events that Karajan added at Easter and Whitsun – was a Roman Colosseum where fresh talent was thrown to the lions and record bosses came bearing gifts. At the Karajan festivals I attended the air stank of sycophancy, cheap Sekt and fear; even taxis were festooned with his corporate advertising.
Lucerne, meanwhile, waxed fat on Nazi gold and the highest ticket prices on the classical planet. It built an exquisite concert hall that seemed to float on the lake and took pride in contracting the socialist Claudio Abbado to entertain its preponderance of plutocrats, many of them on the wrong side of 80…
Now’s the time to rethink our future summers.