Book: Festival em Tempo de Pandemia (Festival in Pandemic Times)

14 June 2022

The book "Festival em Tempo de Pandemia" (Festival in Pandemic Times) is a work of art and of history. It combines the best images by photographer Sara Leonardo with texts by João Neves. Both have witnessed each step in the making of Cistermúsica 2020 and the concerts that took place in the Alcobaça Monastery.

Visit this website for a preview of the photos and texts:


As a beacon. That's how many saw the 28th Cistermúsica – Alcobaça Music Festival and that's how this edition will go down in History.

In a dark time of our era, in the midst of a pandemic storm and a whirlwind of uncertainty, we dared to carry out an event that managed to dispel darkness, shed light and contentment on artists and spectators, paving the way for cultural recovery after a painful collective bewilderment that made us adrift for several months.

An historic edition of Cistermúsica such as the one we lived through in 2020 was worthy of being recorded for later remembrance and that was what Sara Leonardo, to whom we praise such sensitivity and to whom we thank for her generosity and friendship, predisposed herself to.

We were fortunate to have undertaken this project, as it resulted in a surprising photographic record that cannot be fully reproduced here, just as the immensity of the emotions experienced at the time and the unprecedented challenges we overcame cannot be reproduced here, but which can somehow be sensed in each of the printed images and in each of the transcribed testimonies.

This book thus takes on an archival dimension, allowing us to keep alive the memory of how it was possible, in a time of pandemic, to fulfil one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in the country, in a truly exceptional year and, above all, to comply with Culture!

May this memory nourish us for a long time and give us the spirit to continue, fearless, to pursue the venturous journey of Cistermúsica.

Rui Morais
General Director of Cistermúsica - Alcobaça Music Festival