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

The book

Published in 2021 by Edições Escafandro, the book "Um Festival em Tempos de Pandemia" combines the best images by Sara Leonardo with texts by João Neves. A historical document that witnesses each step in the making of Cistermúsica 2020.

Hardcover book with 280 pages
Size: 21 x 25 cm

The exhibition

The exhibition will be on display at the Alcobaça Monastery from 18 April to 31 May 2022. In a set of 15 photographic panels Sara Leonardo presents a summary of the project's most representative images. You can visit the exhibition between 09h00 and 19h00 (last entry 18h30).

This exhibition is available for circulation. If you wish to host the exhibition, you may contact

Testimonials and Press

Some testimonies collected during the exhibition will be presented here soon.