The first ever performance in London and Rome of this recently discovered opera

June 24, 2022

The first performance in London and Rome of the opera, San Ignacio de Loyola

Pictured: Argentinian tenor, Rafael Montero, baroque singer of indigenous descent and founder of El Parnaso Hyspano

The opera, San Ignacio de Loyola, is being performed to mark the Ignatian Year - the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). You can book tickets for the opera on Eventbrite here

Who composed the opera?

The opera was written by the Jesuit priest, Domenico Zipoli, in around 1720, shortly before his death. Zipoli was a musician of the first rank, born and trained in Italy, before joining the Jesuits and emigrating to Latin America to work in the missions. He died in Cordoba, Argentina. His works were discovered recently in the Jesuit Missions of Bolivia.

He devoted his missionary work in Latin America to the spiritual and musical development of the indigenous population, writing music for them to sing and play, including in native languages such as Guarani. Much of his work has only recently been discovered in various locations in South America, and is only now beginning to get the attention it deserves worldwide.

What is the opera about?

San Ignacio de Loyola is a recently discovered work, and only the second opera to be written in Latin America, and tells the history of the Saints Ignacio Loyola and Francisco Javier, founders of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). It was meant to be sung and played exclusively by indigenous people, thus making the work fully performed by indigenous people for an indigenous audience.

This means that besides being the second known opera in the New World, it is probably the first known opera performed completely by native Americans. The opera tells the life of Ignacio from the time he dedicates himself to his spiritual work. The work has been rarely performed in modern times and never in Rome or London.

This project is the inspiration of Rafael Montero, a Europe-based professional baroque singer of Argentinian nationality and indigenous Latin American descent. He studied at the University of Cordoba in Argentina, founded by the Jesuits, where Zipoli died, and where Pope Francis lived for two years (1990-1992).

When and where can I see the performances?

DATE / LOCATION: Saturday 9th July in London, The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Mayfair, and Friday 29th July in Rome, Aula Accademica of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music.

PERFORMERS:  The role of San Ignacio will be sung by Argentinian tenor, Rafael Montero. The performance will be directed by Maestro Walter Marzili, a Council Member of PIMS and CIMS, and also Director of the Official Octet of the Sistine Chapel Choir.

The performances in London come under the auspices of the professional early music ensemble - El Parnaso Hyspano - founded by Rafael Montero, which has been giving concerts in the UK since 2020.  

You can read an article about this project by John Sloboda, founder member of the ensemble and co-ordinator / producer for the London performances, in the latest edition of Oremeo, the monthly magazine of Westminster Cathedral, by clicking here (the article is on pages 8 - 9).

Page 1 of the libretto can be downloaded by clicking on the button below.

You can book tickets for the opera on Eventbrite here

The banner outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Farm Street, Mayfair)

Discerning leadership in Oxford

August 21, 2023

Five years ago Pope Francis invited Jesuits to share the gift of discernment with the Church

Climate change - the minimum expectations

May 22, 2023

We are joining a coalition urging investment managers to halt support for fossil fuel expansion

Novenas to mark the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2021

Jesuit parishes across the UK will be sharing their contributions in the run-up to the feast day.

Jesuit Missions is looking for a Media and Communications Officer

May 25, 2023

The team is looking for someone who can help communicate the vital work they are supporting globally