The Vatican has announced surprise plans to turn DANTE's classic poem THE Divine Comedy into a punk rock touring opera. The project will be headed by avant-garde priest MONSIGNOR MARCO FRISINA, who hopes the three-part epic can also incorporate jazz and classical elements into a musical cocktail. Brushing off suggestions the work bears no relevance in modern society, Frisina says, "The poem is an inexhaustible source of stories, messages and teaching. "This is the poem of our Christian roots, of our faith, the opera of man in search of love, of the true sense of life." The opera will premiere in Rome, Italy before touring other European cities. Rehearsals will commence later this month (JAN07).