Lil Nas X, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

The music video for Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” has drawn many comparisons to Dante’s Inferno for its depiction of the singer’s descent to hell (and eventual lap dance of Satan). Here are a few quotes from media outlets:

“2021 is here, purgatory is (almost) over, and Lil Nas X is our Dante.”   –Halle Keifer for Vulture

“Artists have been imagining trips to hell for hundreds of years without anyone raising too much fuss, but then Dante wasn’t a gay black pop star. Also, as far as anyone knows, Dante didn’t promote the Divine Comedy by selling a limited-edition sneaker made with human blood, which is the approach Lil Nas X has been taking with ‘Montero.’ On Friday, news broke that Lil Nas X and MSCHF had collaborated on ‘Satan Shoes,’ a limited release of modified Nike Air Maxes decorated with pentagrams and a reference to Luke 10:18 (‘And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’) They’re only making 666 individually numbered pairs of shoes, and each one is made with a drop of real human blood. Not surprisingly, Nike wants everyone to know they had nothing to do with any of this.”   –Matthew Dessem in Slate

“In the ‘Montero’ video, Lil Nas X journeys from Garden of Eden to Dante’s inferno by sliding down a stripper pole (truly, twigs is correct in calling it iconic) [. . .].”   –Meagan Fredette for W Magazine

Watch the video on YouTube (accessed April 14, 2021)

 

University of Toronto’s multilingual Dante reading (2021)

Commemorating the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, Toronto Salutes Dante features more than thirty Canada-based guests who read Dante’s Inferno in various languages, several for the first time. In addition to ten different Italian dialects, there are represented American Sign Language, Anishinaabemowin, Arabic, Bulgarian, English, Farsi, French, German, Latin, Mandarin, Portuguese, Québécois, Russian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Spanish, Stoney Nakoda, Swedish, Thai, and Ukrainian. In 15-minute clips, well-known personalities of Canadian public and cultural life, professors, and students at the University of Toronto, and members of the Italo-Canadian community share their voices and fresh memories of the most important Italian author in world literature. Listen to Dante’s Inferno as you have never heard it before on the Department of Italian Studies’ YouTube channel from March 25th to June 2021.

From an original idea of Elisa Brilli, George Ferzoco, and Nicholas Terpstra, and thanks to the invaluable work of Alice Martignoni and Nattapol Ruangsri (Research Assistants). Sponsored by the Department of Italian Studies, the Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies at the University of Toronto, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Toronto, and Villa Charities.    —University of Toronto

How dancer Anuradha Venkataraman interpreted Dante through the Mahabharata

“When dancer Anuradha Venkataraman opted for a residency program with Instabili Vaganti, an Italian theatre company, she would have never expected that it would one day give her a chance to interpret one of Dante’s classics through the Mahabharata.

“A classical dancer for almost 25 years, Bengaluru-based Anuradha Venkataraman had been looking at ways to expand on language of Bharatanatyam for years. . . ‘to go beyond the traditional margams.’ [. . .].”   –Ruth Dhanaraj, The Hindu, March 24, 2021

Cole Porter, “You’re The Top” (2009)

 

“you’re a rose/ you’re Inferno’s Dante/ you’re the nose/ on the great Durante”    –Cole Porter, Youtube, 2009.

Dantedì 2020 in Tunisia

Hammadi Agrebi, Professor of Italian in the Tunisian Ministry of Education, posted a brief video of himself dressed as Dante and reciting the opening verses of the Inferno as a celebration of Dantedì 2020. He began his reading by remarking on the ways that Dante’s verses serve to unify people across cultures, and circulated them on social media with the hashtag #IoleggoDante, an initiative sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture to display solidarity with Italians and others worldwide who were in strict lockdowns during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video was posted on YouTube on March 24, 2020.

UCLA’s Dante in the Americas

“The literary appropriation of Dante over the last century has been enormous. His influence has been front and center in all major modern literary traditions—from T.S. Eliot to William Butler Yeats, from Albert Camus to Jean-Paul Sartre, from Jorge Luis Borges to Derek Walcott, from Giorgio Bassani to Giuseppe Ungaretti. Why such fascination? What are the textual characteristics of Dante’s Commedia that make it an ideal vehicle for literary appropriation, thereby allowing it to enjoy a sustained cultural afterlife? What, moreover, are the more accidental factors (e.g., taste, world view, political agenda, religious, and mystical convictions) which account for the popularity of Dante—after 300 years of neglect during which the Florentine poet was relegated to the shadows of Petrarch and his works—among artists, novelists, poets, playwrights, and cinematographers? This symposium, co-organized by Professor Massimo Ciavolella (Italian, UCLA), Professor Efraín Kristal (Comparative Literature, UCLA), and Heather Sottong (Italian, UCLA), considers these questions, concentrating on Dante’s influence in North America and especially in Latin America.”   —UCLA Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, 2011

“Carnevale: la storia di Paolo e Francesca in dialetto fanese”

carnival-the-story-of-paolo-and-francesca-in-the-fano-dialect-2021La settimana Grassa del Carnevale di Fano 2021 continua con un appuntamento dedicato all’amore, anche se in questo caso un po’ tormentato, come quello di Paolo e Francesca. Direttamente dalla loro stanza all’interno del Castello di Gradara, i protagonisti prenderanno vita grazie agli attori Emilia Claudi ed Enrico Spelta che si esibiranno nel V Canto dell’Inferno. L’opera sarà tradotta in dialetto fanese da Paola Magi e Maurizio Misuriello, con la partecipazione anche della presidente dell’Ente Carnevalesca Maria Flora Giammarioli. Un ringraziamento speciale al Comune e alla Proloco di Gradara che hanno messo a disposizione location e attrezzatura.” [. . .]    —Vivere Fano, February14, 2021.

View the Vivere Fano Facebook page here.

“How the Passion of Hannibal Lecter Inspired a New Opera About Dante”

the-passion-of-hannibal-inspires-new-opera-about-dante-den-of-geek-2021

“When you hear the name Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a few things spring to mind—and none of them are likely to involve Italian poet Dante Alighieri or opera. Of course there’s good reason for this, with Lecter’s exotic cooking ingredients superseding his gentler affectations. But even so, when author Thomas Harris first imagined how the character might move in the wild for the novel Hannibal, it was with baroque glee he unleashed the doctor in Florence: Italy’s Renaissance city and Dante’s medieval stomping grounds.

“Director Ridley Scott similarly understood that secret recipe. His film version of Hannibal relishes every Italian colonnade Anthony Hopkins walks under, or the way the shadow of the statue of David casts darkness on its star’s face, often as he stands in the same spot where men were hanged or immolated centuries ago. In its better moments, Scott’s movie savors that this is a story about a devil who covets the divine; it delights in playing like an opera.

“Hence for the picture’s best sequence, the filmmakers commissioned a new ‘mini-opera,’ one that would for the first time put music to verses that Dante wrote more than 700 years ago. And in the decades since the movie’s release, those fleeting  minutes of music have blossomed into a real, full-fledged opera about to have its world premiere. Once again the doctor’s distinct tastes and influences appear singular within the realm of movie monsters.” [. . .]    –David Crow, Den of Geek, February 17, 2021.

“Beyond the Darkness, Dancing in the Light of Dante” (2020)

 

“Beyond the darkness, dancing in the light of Dante

“a cura di Comune di Firenze — Assessorto al Turismi

“Il video mostra una Firenze vuota ma illuminata a festa, dove giovani danzatori sono animati dalle parole del sommo Poeta Dante Alighieri.

“Le sue parole, come una luce, condurranno fuori dall’oscurità della notte.

“Realizzato da Studio Riprese Firenze, diretto da Matteo Gazzarri.” [. . .]    –Municipality of Florence Tourism Department

To find more information on celebrations and events regarding Dante’s 700th anniversary visit https://www.700dantefirenze.it/.

 

A Divina Comedia (1991)

Released in 1991, the Portuguese drama film A Divina Comèdia was written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira.