The world-renowned Sistine Chapel Choir, also known as the Pope’s Choir, graced the Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi with a historic concert on Thursday, May 30. Having a remarkable legacy of 1500 years, it is acknowledged as the longest-running chorale globally.

For the first time, the Pope’s personal choir, which usually performs at papal functions, presented a mesmerizing performance in the UAE. As the choir members made their way through the red carpet into the prayer hall of St Francis Church, an air of anticipation filled the room, with hushed whispers acknowledging their arrival.

Amidst the mix of singers, the presence of children, the Pueri Cantores, surprised those witnessing the choir for the first time. The enchanting rendition commenced with a Gregorian chant ‘Victimae paschali laudes’, captivating the audience and transcending time as the voices of both the young and old echoed through the grand hall.

The performance of classical masterpieces by the choir left ministers, high-ranking officials, ambassadors, bishops, nuns, and members of the community in awe and wonder. The esteemed ensemble delivered compositions from renowned composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Giuseppe Liberto, Lorenzo Perosi, Tomás Luis de Victoria, and Domenico Bartolucci.

After presenting twelve astounding pieces consecutively, the choir received a standing ovation, with the all-male members humbly acknowledging the audience’s applause. To everyone’s delight, the choir director Monsignor Marcos Pavan announced a final performance, the famous ‘Tu es petrus’, eliciting an even greater response.

Representatives from the choir expressed their gratitude, highlighting the significance of their debut in the UAE. With 28 boys and 21 adult members, they emphasized the rigorous selection process for the choir and the honor associated with being part of the Pope’s Choir.

Rooted in the Renaissance era, the choir’s history pays homage to the contributions of legendary composers and musicians. The landmark event, hosted by Abu Dhabi Festival and The Apostolic Nunciature to UAE, offered a glimpse into the sacred heritage of the church.

Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), and founder and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival, emphasized the event's reflection of the UAE’s dedication to values of peace and common coexistence, in line with the principles outlined in the Document on Human Fraternity signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb.

Archbishop El-Kassis underscored the concert’s significance in strengthening the ties between the Holy See and the UAE, contextualizing it within the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in February 2019.

Monsignor Marcos Pavan described this as a historic moment for the 1500-year-old Sistine Chapel Choir, emphasizing the embodiment of the UAE’s values of peaceful coexistence, diversity, and dialogue.