Seen from the audience – In the audience of the "Last Judgment" – Rome

Universal Judgment. Michelangelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel

Rome – "In the times of Michelangelo, God was a menacing type". And now? "We do not know, no one paints his stories". So Christian, Roman, 8 years, tells us his version of the Last Judgment . He has not yet seen the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel but, stimulated by the stories of his elder brother, he asked his mother to accompany him to the show on Michelangelo's masterpiece.

For four months Last Judgment. Michelangelo and the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel conceived by Marco Balich and embellished by the contributions of international professionals of the highest level – from Sting to Pier Francesco Favino, from light designer Luke Halls to set designers Bruno Poet and Rob Halliday – has transformed the Auditorium of Conciliation in the set of a total show: a memorable page of the Renaissance told through a mix of theater, dance, images and the latest findings of technology.

Recorder to the hand, we went to browse among the public to gather moods and opinions. The audience has a decidedly diverse population: tourists and citizens of the capital, foreigners and Italians (thanks to the headphones for the dubbed version), couples, families, young people, the elderly, groups of nuns and priests, art lovers and multimedia enthusiasts sit alongside the others, united by a great curiosity. Will they also have the same reactions?

"We great are dazzled by special effects, lights, 3D", says Livia, Christian's mother: "For boys it's different. They are used to these images, even if viewed only on the computer. So they look after the hard, the story of a very famous place that no one had ever told him. After seeing the show with the school my eldest son did not talk about anything else. But he did not tell me that the space of the Auditorium becomes that of the Sistine Chapel: the public is practically surrounded by frescoes! A wonder … ".

It is the amazement that is the common denominator in the reactions of spectators of all ages and backgrounds. "Flying over the roofs of Rome" and seeing St. Peter's Basilica "born from nothing and grow up to heaven" was the biggest emotion for Sofia, a 10 year old bell girl who is interested in technology, and how. While the seventy-six-year-old Sister Maria Grazia, belonging to the Order of the Franciscan Teachers of Rome, admired above all the reproductions of the frescoes – "beautiful in close vision" – and the attention with which the relationship between Michelangelo and the divine was treated.
"It is the first time we see a show that brings together many arts", says the young Iranian Mohammad, on their honeymoon with Yasmine: "painting, music, dance, acting, lights surround you literally and for an hour live inside the story of Michelangelo. We decided to postpone one day the visit to the Sistine Chapel just to get more prepared and we achieved the goal in a pleasant way. It is not nice to go and see a work of art without knowing what it means, how it was born, what kind of person was its author ".

Made with the advice and the imprimatur of the Vatican Museums, it seems that the Last Judgment by Marco Balich and Lulu Helbæk spontaneously became the didactic support favored by the public for the interpretation of the masterpieces Michelangelo. Justine and Antoine arrived from Paris with their father Christophe, who says: "My children are 15 and 8 years old, two very different ages. It was not easy to find a way to explain Michelangelo's painting to both. We went to visit the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums and we were admired by so much beauty, but it was difficult to grasp the details in a short time, with so many people around us. Above all, many questions remained unanswered. Now everything is definitely clearer, for me and for them ".
"I especially liked the lights and the drawn figures", explains the little Antoine. The older sister, more demanding, observes: "In such a beautiful show it is a pity that the recited parts are not live".

We cross two young Romans who, before the show, confessed to us with little regret about a jewel of their city. OK, they make a sign with your hand. The labial says "Figata".

Read also:
• Put a night with Michelangelo, between the show "Last Judgment" and a visit to the Sistine
• Inside the "Last Judgment" with the director Lulu Helbæk
• All ready for "Last Judgment", the total show dedicated to Michelangelo

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