South Korean popera tenor Lim Hyung-joo has sung “Ave Maria” in front of Pope Francis during a private audience with him in Ulaanbaatar, the singer’s agency said Wednesday.
According to DGNcom, Lim was granted a private audience with the pope at Bishop’s House in the Mongolian capital on Monday (Mongolian time), the last day of the first-ever papal visit to the country. During the audience, the popera tenor presented the pope with his signed Catholic hymn album, titled “The Last Confession.”
Responding with a bright smile, the pope said, “Cantare!” in Italian, asking for a song from the singer. Lim, a Catholic himself, then sang the first verse of Caccini’s “Ave Maria” in a cappella. After hearing the song, Francis shook the singer’s hand and thanked him for the singing, according to the agency.
On Sunday, Lim performed at the Mass presided over by the pope at the Steppe Arena in Ulaanbaatar. He was originally scheduled to perform at a pre-event leading up to the Mass but ended up performing at the closing event after the Mass at the request of the Vatican, the agency said.
He sang three songs — “Ave Maria,” “You Raise Me Up” and “Panis Angelicus” — to mark the finale of the event.
“I thought performing at a Mass led by the first pope to visit Mongolia was the greatest gift in my 25-year musical career. But now I believe that having an audience with him was the best moment of my life and an endless honor,” he said through the agency.