Cecilia Bartoli: first woman to sing in Sistine Chapel with centuries-old all-male choir

Posted on: November 22, 2017

“For the past 500 years, beautiful sacred music has echoed up towards Michelangelo’s sublime ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, performed exclusively by male choirs. Until now,” writes Angela Giuffrida in Sunday’s (11/19) Observer (London, U.K.). “Cecilia Bartoli, one of Italy’s most celebrated classical singers, has become the first woman to perform inside the chapel with the all-male Sistine Chapel Choir, as part of a unique musical project which draws on ancient, neglected musical archives of the Catholic church. On Friday night the mezzo-soprano joined the 20 men and 30 boys who make up the choir, among the oldest choral groups in the world, to sing Beata Viscera, by the Renaissance composer Pérotin…. Federico Capitoni, a journalist and music critic for the daily newspaper La Repubblica, said that the inclusion of a woman in the choir was a ‘significant gesture of openness by the Vatican.’… The choice marked a monumental shift in a choir which formed in the 15th century…. More recently, under the leadership of Monsignor Massimo Palombella, a Salesian priest appointed choirmaster by Pope Benedict in 2010, the group has been enjoying a revival, even undertaking its first tour of the U.S. in 30 years in September.”

Posted November 22, 2017