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Sistine Chapel Choir joins Choir of Westminster Abbey for Evensong tonight

Friday, 25th May 2018

Sistine Chapel Choir joins Choir of Westminster Abbey for Evensong tonight

The Cappella Musicale Pontificia ‘Sistina’ (Sistine Chapel Choir) joins the Choir of Westminster Abbey in singing Evensong today at 5.00 pm.

The Sistine Chapel Choir, under Maestro Direttore Monsignor Massimo Palombella, and the Abbey Choir, under the direction of Organist and Master of the Choristers James O’Donnell, will sing music from both the Roman and the Anglican traditions, including works by Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria and Benjamin Britten.

The two choirs first sang together at the instigation of Pope Benedict XVI at a Papal Mass in St Peter's Basilica in Rome in June 2012. This was the first time in its history that the Sistine Choir had joined forces with another choir, and the invitation to Rome came about after Pope Benedict visited the Abbey during his State Visit to the UK in September 2010. The collaboration between the two choirs continued in Westminster in May 2015, and again in January last year when the Abbey Choir returned to Rome to sing Vespers with the Sistina in the Papal Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls. The two choirs also gave a joint concert in the Basilica of St John Lateran.

The Sistine Chapel Choir comprises 20 adult singers and 35 boys and sings at all Papal liturgical celebrations. One of the longest-established musical institutions in the world, it traces its origins to the very first centuries of the Church. It acquired its name ‘Sistina’ in 1471 when under Pope Sixtus IV it became the Pope's personal choir.

The service will begin at 5.00 pm and all are welcome. No tickets are required.

The biggest challenge we face is maintaining such a large physical collection of material within a historic building – believe it or not, there’s just not enough space for it all.

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Matthew - Keeper of the Muniments

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