Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vatican Impressions

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UGA the featured guest choir for High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica on June 4

The UGA Chamber Choir concludes its 2009 Incantato Italy Tour with two performances at the Vatican. The singers directed by Dr. Mitos Andaya will be the featured guest choir for High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica at 5 pm and then present a special recital in the Sistine Chapel.

Constituting the core of Vatican City, Saint Peter’s Basilica is the principal and one of the largest churches of the Christian world.
The present structure was built mainly between 1506 and 1626 on the original site of the Vatican cemetery and an early shrine to St. Peter. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine built the first church of St. Peter, a wood-roofed basilica, with transepts, five aisles, and an atrium. It was said to be built over the grave of St. Peter. Here, Charlemagne and many other emperors and popes were crowned. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V. undertook the rebuilding of the choir and transepts after a design by Bernardo Rossellino. Pope Julius II appointed architect Bramante to rebuild the church in 1506. He appears to have originally planned a symmetrical Greek cross with a great dome over the center. Bramante was succeeded by Raphael (1514), Antonio da San Gallo (1520), and Michelangelo (1547), who completed the building up to the drum of the great dome. Giacomo della Porta modified the design and completed the dome.
Throughout the 16th century, there was controversy over the final form in which the church would be built - the centralized Greek cruciform plan or the shape of a Latin cross. The problem was resolved in favor of the Latin cross plan, when Carlo Maderno added the nave and facade (1607-14). Unfortunately his additions obscured the dome. The church was dedicated by Urban VIII in 1626. Between 1629 and 1662, Bernini completed the great composition of St. Peter's, creating a forecourt preceded by a majestic elliptical piazza bounded by quadruple colonnades. The great obelisk of Heliopolis, brought to Rome by Caligula, was moved by Domenico Fontana, and now adorns the center of the piazza. A monumental avenue leading to the piazza was added by Mussolini. From 1996 to 1999, the facade of the church was cleaned, and a dull straw color restored to lower portions of it.
The huge scale of all the elements of the interior prevents any accurate notion of its magnitude, and its effectiveness is chiefly due to the dome, which is 404 ft (123 m) high from the pavement. The interior diameter of the dome, 137 ft (42 m) is one of the largest in the world.
Beneath, it is the high altar covered by Bernini's superb bronze baldachino. At this altar only the pope may read Mass. The interior with its colored marbles, its sculptures, and its gilt and fresco decorations gives an effect of multicolored space.

Opening hours: Oct-Mar 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Apr-Sep 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: Piazza San Pietro, Roma -- Phone: (+39) ... -- Website:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

UGA Chamber sings High Mass at St. Mark's Basilica

And here is a first unedited recording on

UGA Chamber Choir sings at Florence Duomo today

The UGA Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Mitos Andaya will be performing in both major cathedrals and off-the-beaten path gems during their 2009 Italy Performance Tour. Here is an overview of the remaining performances:

June 2nd at 6:00PM High Mass and Recital at Florence Duomo
Here is the official website of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.

June 4th at 5:00PM High Mass at St. Peter's Basilica followed by a private visit of the Vatican Museums and highlight recital in the Sistine Chapel