If you’ve ever walked into an enormous old church in Europe and noticed the spectacular acoustics, you might have followed that thought with the realization that a musical performance in such a space would be fantastic. As more churches serve as venues for concerts, we are able to bask in the glory of those wonderful acoustics. If that sounds appealing to you, then mark your calendars for a visit to Italy in the fall so you can attend a series of concerts in Rome‘s beautiful churches for the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art.
The Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra, as it’s known in Italian, was started in 2002 and takes place each year in November. The festival is organized by the Vatican, so the concerts are held in the “Papal Basilicas of Rome” – including St. John Lateran, St. Ignatius Loyola, and Santa Maria in Aracoeli. St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is even the setting for some performances. The Vienna Philharmonic is the resident orchestra for the festival.
The Vatican’s Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra is designed to increase awareness of the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra (Sacred Art and Music Foundation), which raises money to restore religious art, artifacts and buildings. Anyone who wants to attend the International Festival of Sacred Music and Art, then, must be a contributing member of the fountation. Donations start at €75 and go up (way up) from there. Note that the more you donate, the better your chances are of getting a good seat. A €75 donation, for instance, means you get a single seat in one of the side naves.
Check the official festival website for the dates of this year’s festival, as well as the program of events.