ROME — The Sistine Chapel might be coming to a theater near you.
The Vatican Museums have collaborated with British singer Sting and producers of Olympic ceremonies to create a surround-sound, live show telling the tale of Michelangelo and his frescoed masterpiece.
The $10.6 million production, “Universal Judgment: Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel,” debuts March 15 at an auditorium near the Vatican.
Creator Marco Balich, the artistic director for several past Olympics, says he’s already entertaining requests to take the hour-long spectacle and its Sting-penned soundtrack abroad.
The Vatican will receive “contained” royalties from the production.
Museums’ director Barbara Jatta says the show provides an unparalleled educational opportunity to bring art, culture and faith to younger audiences. She stressed the Vatican’s history of using “tradition and innovation” to communicate.
During the hour-long show, the public will be placed in the middle of the event to explore and discover the details of the Sistine Chapel, studying each fresco until reaching Michelangelo’s Final Judgement, which the creators promise “will come to life around the spectators.”
The Sistine Chapel – noted for being where the conclave to elect a pope takes place – is named after Pope Sixtus IV, who had the chapel built in the Apostolic Palace between 1477 and 1480.
In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint a series of frescoes depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis on the ceiling of the chapel. The project took four years.
Nearly 25 years after he finished the ceiling, Pope Clement VII commissioned the artist to paint ‘The Last Judgement’ over the altar in the project, which took him five years to complete.
The Sistine Chapel also contains frescoes by famed Renaissance painters Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Cosimo Roselli.
Crux staff contributed to this report.