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German tenor duo records sacred music from an empty St. Peter’s Basilica

J-P Mauro - published on 04/02/21

The recordings are airing on Catholic stations, with new songs released each day of Holy Week.

The German tenor duo Die Oper had a rare chance to record from St. Peter’s Basilica for Holy Week. The concert was recorded live from the altar of the basilica, which was without an audience due to the world pandemic. The recordings are airing on Catholic Television, Vatican Radio, and K-TV throughout Holy Week.

The opportunity to sing at the world’s largest church came thanks to Claudia Kaminski of K-TV. Kaminski was saddened when she found St. Peter’s so empty, so she organized the concert with the Vatican.In an interview with Rome Reports, featured above, she said:

I was like, ‘What? It can’t be true.’ Then I was in the basilica again, saw it so empty, and it’s very still because no one’s in there. And then I thought, ‘Why not ask these young guys, these tenors from Germany, if they would like to sing in the basilica?’”

Die Oper

Maximilian Daum and Jonas Wuermeling, the pair that make up Die Oper, have been together for several years. While they are experts at the operatic tradition, their goal is to foster appreciation for the classical style. To accomplish this, they work in a variety of genres to create a bridge between classical and modern. They said:

“Once you go in the opera, either you’re like, ‘Wow, I want to hear more of it,’ or you’re like, ‘Ugh, I don’t need this.’ But 100 percent of the people that we took to the opera were like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ And we want to get back to the point, especially with young people, that young people go back into the theatres, go back and listen to some more classical music, and that’s why we are also making pop music.”

In the concert, they sang 18 works of sacred music. According to CruxNow, the setlist includes: “Credo” in Latin, “O Head Full of Blood and Wounds,” “True God, We Believe Thee,” and “Ave Maria.” The songs are being released individually on several Catholic television and radio networks. A new song is featured each day of Holy Week.

The duo said they were extremely excited when they arranged to sing, but when they got to the basilica, their nerves set in. They said of singing in St. Peter’s:

“For us it was really more of a joyful experience and also a really humbling experience, because there are always two sides to one thing, and that’s a great thing. And you come here, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is going to be awesome.’ And then you stand in front of this church, in front of the Vatican, and you’re like, ‘Whew.'”


Read more:
Hear the first choral concert from Notre Dame since the 2019 fire

Holy WeekRomeSacred Music
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