Friday, February 10, 2006

Old church, new find! St. Julien-le-Pauvre, tucked away beyond a small park, just a few hundred yards form Notre Dame, is “the oldest in Paris intra muros” according to its publicity and has been in use since some time in the sixth century. It has served as a Roman Catholic Church and a salt warehouse. Since 1889 it has been home to one of two Greek Melkite Catholic communities in France, the other is in Marseille.
While serving as an active religious community, this intimate little church regularly hosts marvelous concerts with its flat imaged, gold leaf, inlaid wood and ivory Byzantine altar screen serving as a backdrop for a grand Steinway and performers.
We've been fortunate enough to catch two concerts there so far. The first, performed by a Vietnamese singer was a series of opera pieces originally written for castrati; the second an “Hommage à la Diva Maria Callas”, performed by Lina Castellanza (Soparano with La Scala , Milan) accompanied by her husband Herbert du Plessis. It was an opportunity to hear a great soprano up close & personal. What a powerful voice! Unfortunately no photos were allowed during the performances, but here are a few of the church itself...

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