The papal General Audiences on Wednesdays follow pretty much the same formula. There are some variables: the special guests on the “sagrario” and the choirs who are introduced and sing for the pope.
Recently the St. Michael’s Choir School from Toronto did just that. This brought a wave of questions about just how a choir might go about arranging to sing during a General Audience. As always, the Vaticanista has an answer.
As with anything at the Vatican, there is more than one way to get a choir in to the General Audience. One can go through either the Prefecture of the Papal Household or the Fabbrica San Pietro. In my experience the Fabbrica di San Pietro has been most effective, but either office can make the arrangements.
The Prefecture of the Papal Household can be reach by fax. Yes, by fax. They do not have a public e-mail address. Send a fax with your request in writing, indicate the date of audience for which you will be in Rome, the name of the group, the number of tickets you need (you will still need a ticket to get into the audience) a mailing address and a telephone or fax number.
Their fax number is:
The Fabbrica di San Pietro can be reach by telephone and fax.
Phone number : (+39) 06-6988-3731 or (+39) 06-6988-3462
Both number are for a central switchboard for St. Peter’s. There are two numbers because Europe still uses an older phone system with multiple phone numbers coming into one central switchboard. If you can’t get through on one, or one is busy, try the other.
Fax number: (+39) 06-6988-5518
Again, indicate your name, your group’s name, size, and the dates you will be in Rome.
Which ever office you contact, indicate the dates you will be in Rome and the office will tell you which dates are available for your group to sing at the Vatican. They get requests from around the world all the time, so they do limit the number of choirs that will be singing at each audience.
If you do get a date to sing at an audience, be prepared to arrive early and be waiting in your seats well in advance of the 10:30am start time.
Tickets for General Audiences and all Papal Liturgies are always free. They must be picked up at Bronze Door, by the right colonnade of St. Peter’s square the day before the event. For audiences tickets must be picked up between 3pm and 7pm the day before the audience. Tickets for liturgies can be picked up the day before the celebration. Even if you reserve tickets in advance via fax, you will still have to pick up your tickets at the Bronze Door.