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Concert to be live-streamed from Sistine Chapel for first time ever

Sistine Chapel (Genesis Foundation)

The Vatican has granted permission for a concert to be live-streamed from the Sistine Chapel for the first time ever next month.

The performance of Sir James MacMillan’s Stabat Mater by British choir The Sixteen will take place on April 22, and will then be available for one month on the Classic FM website.

The concert has been organised by the Genesis Foundation, who have described it as a “rare honour”.

Founder and Chairman John Studzinski said he was “delighted” MacMillan’s setting of the Stabat Mater was being broadcast to such a wide audience.

“It is rare for a new, hour-long work of sacred music to move audiences across the world as soon as it has been premiered, but James MacMillan’s Stabat mater is that rarity,” he said.

“To join our long-term collaborators, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, in bringing this great work to one of the world’s most sacred sites will be an unforgettable experience, and the performance will reaffirm music’s capacity to reinforce the spiritual power of words.”

Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols has given his support to the concert.

“The composition of James McMillan powerfully explores the intensity and drama of this prayer. Its performance in the Sistine Chapel will be an experience never to be forgotten,” he said.

Harry Christophers, who founded and conducts the Sixteen, also praised the work.

“James digs deep underneath the surface of this 13th century Marian hymn meditating on Mary’s suffering as she stands at the foot of the cross. He speaks of ‘a painful world of loss, violence and spiritual desolation’ and the score is packed to the full with those intense feelings.”