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Abu Dhabi Festival, Apostolic Nunciature present Arab world premiere of Sistine Chapel Choir at Abrahamic Family House

Abu Dhabi Festival, Apostolic Nunciature present Arab world premiere of Sistine Chapel Choir at Abrahamic Family House
31 May 2024 00:05


Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 and The Apostolic Nunciature to the UAE hosted a concert by the Sistine Chapel Choir on May 30, 2024, at St. Francis Church, Abrahamic Family House. The historic concert marked the Arab world premiere of the renowned Sistine Chapel Choir, creating an unforgettable evening for all attendees.

The concert was presented under the Honorary Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Founding Honorary Patron of Abu Dhabi Festival, and under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, and in the presence of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State, and Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi.

The Sistine Chapel Choir stands as a symbol of musical excellence and spiritual devotion. With a legacy spanning over 1500 years, the Choir is recognised as the oldest in continuous operation globally. Its esteemed history, rooted in the Renaissance era, encompasses the contributions of legendary composers and musicians, including Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gregorio Allegri.

Under the guidance of Monsignor Marcos Pavan, the Choir is a beacon of sacred music, enriching liturgical celebrations in service to the Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness The Pope. Through its transcendent performances, the Choir embodies timeless values of peace, harmony, and human fraternity.

Fostering cultural exchange and dialogue, the concert of the Sistine Chapel Choir holds profound significance. Foregrounding the power of music as a universal language, the historic event articulated the Festival’s commitment to promoting intercultural understanding and collaboration.

The concert was hosted at St.Francis Church located in Saadiyat Island’s Abrahamic Family House, a centre for learning, dialogue and the practice of faith, rooted in the UAE’s values of bringing people and cultures together.

Since its inauguration in 2023, the Abrahamic Family House has hosted a diverse series of events and initiatives that facilitate meaningful encounters, and its three remarkable Houses of Worship have become home to active communities.

Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), and Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The concert of the Sistine Chapel Choir at the Abrahamic Family House, presented by the Abu Dhabi Festival with the Apostolic Nunciature to the UAE, marks the Arab world premiere of this exceptionally storied Choir."

She added: "The event reflects the UAE’s commitment to values of peace and common coexistence, and embodies the principles outlined in the Document on Human Fraternity signed on the 4th of February 2019, by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb.”

“We stress the significance of cultural exchange and understanding between civilisations. The Choir holds significant symbolic importance for the Church, where the tradition of sacred music is held in the highest regard.”

She concluded: “Hosting the Sistine Chapel Choir in Abu Dhabi underscores our belief in shared human values and highlights the importance of fostering deep cultural relations between the UAE and the Holy See. Such relations play a pivotal role in revitalising civilisation and cultural dialogue. Through this historic event, we reaffirm our commitment to music as a universal language by showcasing masterpieces from composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi, Giuseppe Liberto, Lorenzo Perosi, Tomás Luis de Victoria, and Domenico Bartolucci. Our aim is to present the rich musical, artistic, and cultural heritage of both the East and the West, celebrating their harmonious fusion in the UAE and beyond.”

Close Relations

Archbishop Christophe El-Kassis, the Ambassador of the Holy See to the United Arab Emirates (also known as the Apostolic Nuncio), said: “This concert by the Sistine Chapel Choir reflects the close relations between the Holy See and the United Arab Emirates, and their shared commitment to enhancing cultural diplomatic relations and the status of the arts in cultural dialogue. It marks a significant historical milestone in our efforts to consolidate the principles of human fraternity.”

El-Kassis continued: “This musical event is contextualized within the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates in February 2019, which holds both global and local significance. During this visit, His Holiness signed the Document on Human Fraternity, which carries universal significance, alongside His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb. Moreover, the visit strengthened cooperation between the Holy See and the United Arab Emirates in promoting the principles of peace and tolerance.”

He concluded: “Music and art serve as the universal language of the world, and through the concert of the Sistine Chapel Choir, we construct bridges of communication and dialogue between cultures. In doing so, we translate our goodwill into building a better future for every human being, regardless of their culture, creed, or ethnicity. The Abu Dhabi Festival and the Sistine Choir play a significant role in achieving this noble goal by fostering closer connections among people and celebrating human fraternity, principles of coexistence, openness, and respect for others.”

Monsignor Marcos Pavan commented: “Historic Moment in the Middle East 1500-year-old Sistine Chapel Choir, the oldest in the world today, will perform for the first time in the region at St. Francis Church, Abrahamic Family House, Abu Dhabi. This event embodies the UAE's values of peaceful coexistence, promoting diversity and dialogue.”

The concert of the Sistine Chapel Choir was an unforgettable experience, uniting audiences in a celebration of shared heritage and collective aspirations.

Source: WAM
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