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If Music be the Food of Love: Don’t Miss Kraków’s Misteria Paschalia

This early music festival is one event every music lover should attend at one point in their life

Whether music be or be not the food of love, a brace of concerts sandwiched around dinner in Kraków makes for a memorable evening.

And if you’re lucky enough to be lodged in the brand new Golden Tulip Kraków Kazimierz, you’re perfectly placed for the festival’s two best and most beloved music venues, Saint Katherine’s and the Corpus Christi churches, each barely 100 meters away, with enough excellent international and Polish cuisine nearby to keep hunger at bay in style.

The Easter early music festival in Poland’s cultural capitaloffers eight days of baroque music by the world’s most famous groups along with some of the best and most surprising gastronomy anywhere in northern Europe. The resident artistic director of Misteria Paschalia 2017 was the French lutenist Vincent Dumestre, founder and director of his renowned ensemble Le Poème Harmonique. Dumestre, 49, assembled a staggeringly beautiful festival using a preponderance of artists and composers primarily from France but including representatives from Italy, Germany, Russia, and Portugal. Perhaps most notably, he reconstructed the full cycle of the Leçons de Ténèbres (“Lessons of Darkness”), a genre of French baroque music consisting of polyphonic choral lamentations for the Easter  midnight candlelight services written by Renaissance composers such as Sermisy, Gesualdo, Tallis and Tomás Luis de Victoria.

An evening libation at the very good and nearby BARaWINO (Wine Bar) at Mostowa 1 is a recommendable prelude to the evening’s concerts in the Corpus Christi church. With a wide and thoughtfully composed selection of wines gathered from as far as New Zealand and Argentina by the owner, famous Polish actor Marek Kondrat, there are a dozen wines available by the glass and hundreds more by the bottle. The Polish pretzel or obwarzanek (ob-var-ZHA-nek), more like a bagel than a pretzel, loaded with sheep cheese, cranberries, and baby spinach, could easily be mistaken for dinner on an abstemious night.

George Semler

A Krakowian pretzel or obwarzanek (ob-var-ZHA-nek) at BARaWINO.

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