April 19, 2018 / 1:47 PM / a year ago

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel masterpieces beamed to Rome theater

ROME (Reuters) - With the help of lasers, dancers and music from British rock star Sting, Michelangelo’s masterpieces are reaching new audiences outside the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

High definition images of the 500-year-old works are being projected onto the walls and ceiling of a symphony hall in Rome for a new show called “Giudizio Universale (Universal Judgment) - Michelangelo and the secrets of the Sistine Chapel”.

Produced by Italian creative director Marco Balich, the curator of the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony, and set to music by Grammy-award winner Sting, the hour-long show sees performing artists take the audience through the pieces’ origin.

“The Creation of Adam”, portraying God giving life to Adam and which forms part of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, is one of several images that flows over and around the audience in the 270 degree show.

Balich, whose work was approved by the Vatican museum, said the idea for the immersive production was born of his wish to show his four teenage children that the Italian Renaissance artist was a superhero of his time.

“Every time I mentioned to them ‘Oh, let’s go to the museum’ they were like ‘Uff’,” he told Reuters.

“I went to see six times Batman, seven editions of Spider-man and I said ‘Now I’ll show you that Michelangelo is a superhero of the time’.”

The show also allows the masterpieces to be seen by more people. Queues to enter the Sistine Chapel are frequently long, with up to 20,000 people a day attempting to visit in the high tourist season in the European summer.

Balich’s show will run until March. The Venetian artist said he was considering whether to use the format for other landmark monuments such as the Egyptian pyramids or the Great Wall of China.

Writing by Patrick Johnston in London; Editing by Alison Williams

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