The Catholic diocese has expressed its joy at having a celebrated Vatican choir perform in the city next month and hopes it will some day also get to sing for audiences on the mainland.
The Sistine Chapel Choir will join a morning mass celebration at the Catholic Cathedral on September 21 and perform in a special concert at the Cultural Centre in the evening, said Fung Yat-ming, director of the Catholic Social Communications Office.
"The diocese is happy to have the Sistine Chapel Choir in town," Fung said.
However, he added that only very few parishioners and members of the public would be able to hear the choral group's cathedral performance due to limited seating.
The office was working with Macau's Diocesan Social Communications Centre to document the visit on DVD and CD so more could enjoy it, he said.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi announced news of the choir's visit on Monday. The choir would perform in Hong Kong two days after its concert in Macau. The singers will then visit Taipei on September 23.
The EDA religious press agency said negotiations to allow the choir to perform on the mainland had fallen through.
"It would be terrific if the choir could visit the mainland. Maybe this is not the right time yet," Fung said yesterday. "We are hopeful that some time, some day, the audience on the mainland will be able to enjoy their angels' voices."
Relations between the Vatican and Beijing have long been strained. The latter severed ties with the Holy See in 1951 and does not recognise its authority over Catholics on the mainland.
The Sistine Chapel Choir - made up of about 20 adult singers and 30 boy choristers - is one of the world's oldest church choirs. It normally performs at papal ceremonies, but has toured many parts of the world.