Pope Francis and Svetlana Kasyan, the Russian Aida
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The pontiff awarded the star of the lyric of the Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of Saint Sylvester and celebrated her 35th birthday with her family. Kasyan, called "the new Callas" has invited the pontiff to Russia.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The famous opera singer Svetlana Kasyan celebrated her 35th birthday with Pope Francis in the Vatican on July 24th. After singing her part in Aida on stage in Verona, the talented Russian soprano of Georgian origins went to the pontiff together with her husband Leonid Sevastianov and her daughter, where the pope was waiting for her with a cake and candles.

Last June, for the first time in history, the Pope awarded Svetlana with the prestigious recognition of a Grand Cross Lady of the Pontifical Order of Saint Sylvester, for merits in the art of opera, and he therefore decided to personally congratulate  the opera star himself on her birthday, whom he wished "success on stage, to always shine and stay as you are".

The singer thanked Pope Francis for the attention shown to her and for the welcome, in turn inviting the pontiff to visit Russia, and if possible her house in Taganka square in Moscow, where she lives in front of the church of St. Martin the confessor, Pope of Rome. The Pope replied: "I would gladly come to Russia, and in that case I would certainly visit you".

The Kasyan, renamed by the music lovers "the new Callas" for her physical appearance and her vocal range of four octaves, had already been received in audience by the Pope on 24 October 2017 (see photo1), in honor of her debut at the 'Opera of Rome in the role of Tosca. The Pope then joked with the artist, showing great knowledge of the art of opera, and at the same time great sympathy for the Russian people. The Pope also thanked the singer for her public positions in defense of the Christian family.

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