Cardinal Bartolucci Foundation Choir from Rome joins Ensemble Espanol for free concert at NEIU April 22

The Cardinal Bartolucci Foundation Choir from Rome with special guest Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs two free concerts at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 22, at the Northeastern Illinois University Auditorium, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

This engagement is courtesy of NEIU, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Latino Art Beat.

For almost 50 years, Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, choirmaster of the Sistine Chapel Choir, oversaw the music of the sacred liturgies of the successors of St. Peter. The choir established in his name now disseminates and promotes knowledge of the most celebrated composers of religious music from the Renaissance to present day.

This event marks one of the choir's first performances in Chicago and will include a special tribute to Dame Libby Komaiko, late founder of the Ensemble Español. Dancers will accompany the choir for a unique performance of "Habanera" from Bizet's "Carmen." With the patronage of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the choir will also perform selections of sacred music, favorite Italian opera arias and an excerpt from Bartolucci's original opera, "Brunellesco." The opera, written in celebration of Filippo Brunelleschi, who is known for building the Brunelleschi Dome in Florence, is set to debut in Italy in 2023. Don Rossi Nuccio, former Ensemble Español board member and executive director of the non-profit Latino Art Beat is responsible for bringing the groups together and is also helping the choir plan the staging of "Brunellesco."

"Northeastern Illinois University values diversity and multiculturalism," Northeastern President Gloria J. Gibson said. "I am excited for our campus to host the Cardinal Bartolucci Foundation Choir, with a special performance by Ensemble Español. This is a wonderful way to celebrate our diversity through the arts."

"Many of the people who perform Spanish dance are Catholic," said Jorge Perez, executive director of Ensemble Español. "With this performance, we will be able to connect our art with our faith, honor our beloved founder, Dame Libby, and do so at our home, Northeastern Illinois University. We are honored to be able to be a part of this historic event."

The event is free and open to the public however tickets are required as seating is limited. Masks will be required to be worn while on campus, per the university's interim COVID-19 policy.

Tickets are currently available at, in person at the university's welcome desk and box office or by calling (773) 442-4636.

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