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Russian opera star gifts Pope Francis ‘Fratelli Tutti’ inspired album

J-P Mauro - published on 02/06/22

Svetlana Kasyan, one of the pontiff's favored singers, sings in 14 languages to promote world unity.

Pope Francis had a visit from one of his favorite opera singers to celebrate his 85th birthday. The pontiff was pleased to host famed Russian singer Svetlana Kasyan, who had just released an album based on Francis’ third encyclical. “Fratelli Tutti.”

Kasyan presented Pope Francis with the album as a gift during the January 11 meeting. The work is a compilation of operatic tunes in 14 languages that was intended to promote world unity. In comments provided by Asia News, Kasyan said the pope was pleased with the musical gift: 

“He spoke about the new meeting he is preparing for this year with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, describing Catholics as friends of the Orthodox and Russia, and admitted that he would love to go on a pilgrimage to the land of Dostoevsky, our classic writer, whom he considers a true theologian.”

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A post shared by Svetlana Kasyan (@kasyan_svetlana)

Kurdish Yazidi heritage

The report goes on to note that during the hour-long meeting, Pope Francis commended the singer for being a role model for Catholics in Russia. The pope also commented on Kasyan’s Kurdish Yazidi heritage, asking she convey his greetings to all Kurds, Yazidis, and Georgians living in Russia. He then presented her with one of his own books, which he inscribed: 

‘What beauty will save the world? Thank you very much, Leonid and Svetlana, for your mystical attitude, for ‘making beauty’, for making us understand that beauty leads us to God.’

Fratelli Tutti

The album Fratelli Tutti is an eclectic compilation of arias and art songs from various world cultures. It weaves seamlessly between Western melodies and more Eastern styles, just brimming with quarter tones. Among the 14 songs is one of Pope Francis’ favorite songs, “La Cumparsita,” one of the most recognizable tangos of all time.

In an interview with The European Times, Kasyan said of the album: 

“This album is the story of my life. I was born in Georgia, then during the war we moved to Kazakhstan. I studied in Moscow, won a competition in China and China opened an international career for me, 12 years of contracts in Italy, and so on … So that is what is behind the choice of having songs from many countries, in many languages. Then, my close relationship with Pope Francis has always been a blessing, and he has always been very kind to me.”

Listen to the full album on Spotify.

MusicPope Francis
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