This World-Famous Popstar Is Transforming the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is the subject of a new immersive live show | © WikiCommons
The Sistine Chapel is the subject of a new immersive live show | © WikiCommons
Photo of Emma Law
Hub Writer30 October 2017

The Vatican Museums have teamed up with musician, singer-songwriter, actor and tantric sex enthusiast Sting to create a new surround-sound live show that tells the story of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel. The €9-million spectacle will open in March 2018 at the 1,500 seat Conciliazione Auditorium near the Vatican.

Sting, who owns Il Palagio vineyard and country estate in Tuscany, has composed a fully immersive soundtrack for the show – titled Universal Judgement: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel.

Sting during a 2013 live show | © Piotr Drabik/Flickr

Aside from music courtesy of a world-famous popstar, the show will feature live acrobatic performances, smoke effects and replicas of Michelangelo’s masterpieces, created through laser technology. To give the audience an experience as close as possible to the real thing, these images will be projected onto an arched screen the same size as the Sistine Chapel itself.

Universal Judgement is being created by Marco Balich, designer and producer of large-scale events and stadium shows such as the Torino 2006 and UEFA 2012 opening and closing ceremonies. According to The Telegraph, Balich is ‘already entertaining requests to take the hour-long spectacle and its Sting-penned soundtrack abroad’.

The show will ‘unveil the secrets of the Sistine Chapel’ and include computer-generated images of this now-illustrious monument as it was being built, as well as while it was being painted by Michelangelo.

More than 5 million people a year visit the Sistine Chapel | © WikiCommons

Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Pope Julius II in 1508. Depicted in the ceiling’s nine central panels are scenes from the Book of Genesis, the most famous of which is the fresco, the Creation of Adam.

Michelangelo worked on the ceiling for four years, building scaffolding secured into the chapel walls to do so. 25 years after completing one masterpiece he returned to create another – The Last Judgement fresco painted on the Sistine Chapel’s altar wall.

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