The Pope is one lucky man. In his official residence in Vatican City is one of the world’s most recognisable and appreciated feats of artistic creation. Luckily for us, it’s not just the Pope or his cardinals that get to experience the exquisite frescos, but to view the Sistine Chapel takes determination and a good few hours of waiting in line along with fellow art appreciating tourists, for a relatively short walk through one of the most elaborately painted rooms in the world.
Once inside this hallowed space, you can see The Life of Moses and The Life of Christ that were completed by a number of painters, including Botticelli along with the pièce de résistance, Michelangelo’s frescos that cover the ceiling with the famous Creation of Adam taking centre stage and The Last Judgement on the far wall behind the altar.
In celebration of these impressive frescos, the man behind the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics in 2016, Milan-based Marco Balich has devised the multi-million Euro theatrical production, Giudizio Universale (Universal Judgement): Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel.
The 60-minute performance takes audience members on an immersive audio-visual journey through the story of how Michelangelo’s masterpiece came to being.
From Pope Julius II’s commissioning the repainting of the vault that was originally painted blue and studded with gilt stars to the papal elections, the decorative history of the Sistine Chapel will come alive through the use of advanced technology and special effects.
Balich has also recruited some big showbiz names. Sting has composed the original theme music, Pier Francesco Favino is the voice of Michelangelo and Susan Sarandon has just been named as the Voice of the Bible.
‘I’m very excited, as an artist and as a woman, to take part in this innovative project,’ said Sarandon on taking up this prominent role. ‘A new powerful way to affirm, through the history of the Sistine Chapel, that art and beauty have the power to unify people and cultures, and bringing peace above all.’
With scientific advice provided by the Vatican Museums and Stufish Entertainment Architects – stage set creators for Rolling Stones and madonna – taking care of the impressive scenography, the 270 degree impressive projections take the audience back in time to the sixteenth century.
And fear not if Italian is not your first language as the show can be translated via earbuds into seven languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.
Universal Judgement: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel is produced by Artainment Worldwide Shows and is showing at Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome. Tickets are currently available until May 31, 2018. Tickets €12-€22.
Want to see more immersive art? Check out Moment Factory’s Aura experience at Montreal’s Notre-Dame