Lapopessa is the semi-biographical re-imagining of a historical love story between a nun, Sister Pascalina, and a priest, Eugenio Pacelli, who becomes Pope Pius XII. In this version of history, Sister Pascalina was the most powerful woman in the Catholic church. She lived secretly in the private Papal apartments with Pope Pius, and their relationship spanned 40 years.
Our story's Sister Pascalina was intrigued by Eugenio Pacelli and saw in him a path to realize their shared goals. She dedicated her life to ensuring their position on the world political stage by tirelessly supporting and promoting him to become the Pope.
During Pascalina's twenty years in the Vatican, she had to endure much criticism and the mockery of the title Lapopessa, which means female Pope in Italian. The title was given to her by the powerful, disapproving, and misogynist male hierarchy of the Vatican. Despite their interference, Pascalina often functioned much like a Pope and made significant decisions affecting church policy and world politics, including implementing significant relief efforts to help millions of Jews escape the Nazi atrocities of the war years.
This musical presents a unique love story between unlikely partners in unusual circumstances. The sociological and religious constructs of the times made it difficult for Pascalina and Pacelli to accomplish their missions. Yet, they ascended to be players on the world stage through love, hard work, and sheer determination.
Lapopessa, the musical, provides a traditional musical theater experience. It uses music to tell stories of love, conflict, and self-realization. Although the priests of the Vatican may have sung about never having heard of her, Lapopessa will fill your heart with inspiration and admiration. In the end, Lapopessa celebrates the courage of following one's call and living a vibrant, meaningful life.