Claudio Abbado sat before the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, rehearsing Mahler’s Third Symphony last Wednesday, speaking softly in German, English and Italian to the collection of international musicians in the resident ensemble. They were closely attentive. He had only to lower his baton for them to stop playing — no calls for quiet.
And at the concert on Sunday evening, the usually staid Swiss greeted the performance with a roar. His most devoted fans, the “Abbadiani,” rained flowers down from the balcony. Clapping rhythmically, the audience summoned him back for a solo bow after the orchestra had left the stage.