Paris: Wearing safety helmets and protective clothing, the Notre Dame Cathedral choir has sang in a medieval Paris landmark for the first time since the devastating fire at a special Christmas Eve concert last year.
Accompanied by an acclaimed violinist, a rented organ and a soprano soloist, 20 singers performed beneath the cathedral’s stained-glass windows amid the darkened church, which is transitioning from being a precarious hazardous clean-up operation to becoming a massive reconstruction site.
The singers stood socially distanced to be able to take off their masks — which is required indoors in France to stem the spread of the virus — and sing.
The concert was recorded Saturday and will be broadcast Thursday night. The public was not allowed and isn’t expected to see the insides of Notre Dame until at least 2024.
The diocese called it a “highly symbolic concert … marked with emotion and hope,” and a celebration of a “musical heritage that dates to the Middle Ages.”
The Archbishop of Paris, Mr. Michel Opetit, will hold a Christmas Eve service on Thursday at the church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerroy opposite the Louvre Museum instead of Notre Dame.
The Notre Dame Choir used to hold 60 concerts in the cathedral every year, but has been touring since then and touring other churches in Paris.
The April 2019 fire destroyed the lead roof of the cathedral and destroyed its spire. It was not until the beginning of this month that workers finally stabilized the site enough to begin reconstruction.