The Grieco Brothers’ Inferno, the Musical (2020)

The Grieco Brothers‘ new musical, Inferno, is staged in the Caves at Pertosa-Auletta, in the province of Salerno. Of the brothers’ interest in representing the Inferno, Massimo Grieco says, “Nietzsche diceva che se si guarda per un tempo sufficiente nell’abisso, l’abisso guarderà dentro te. L’inferno è, per me, la migliore rappresentazione dei fantasmi che albergano dentro di noi. È il nostro abisso. Ed in questo senso, esaminare l’inferno è un viaggio di andata e ritorno dentro di sé. Se si è abbastanza equilibrati ed onesti, si accettano i propri abissi e si gestiscono. Solo così possiamo, ogni mattina, riaprire gli occhi, riuscire a riveder le stelle, considerato i giorni che stiamo attualmente vivendo.”  –Massimo Grieco, in an interview with Lorenzo Calafiore, “Da Itaca all’Inferno. Lorenzo Calafiore dialoga con i Grieco Brothers,” Insula europea (25 March 2020)

The Grotte di Pertosa-Auletta have also served as the backdrop to immersive, ambulatory performances by the troupe Tappeto Volante, directed by Domenico M. Corrado (see post here).

“Assignation” by Sante Matteo

“Sante Matteo was born and raised in a small town in southern Italy. He is Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies in Oxford, Ohio, home of Miami University. In retirement he is enjoying trying his hand at creative writing, some of which has recently appeared or are forthcoming in Dime Show Review, The Chaffin Journal, and Coffin Bell Journal.  This ten word story was typed on a Smith Corona Super-Silent, c. 1957.”    —Dime Show Review, March 2020

 

“Thrift Store Wood Engraving Print Turns Out To Be Salvador Dalí Artwork”

“It’s pretty much the thrift store dream; to find a rare, long lost treasure on a crowded tchotchke shelf, on sale for a bargain price. That’s what happened at the Hotline Pink Thrift Shop in Kitty Hawk, N.C., when Wendy Hawkins came across an otherwise ignored piece of art.

[. . .]

The item turned out to be a 1950s woodcut print that was created and signed by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. It is part of a series of 100 illustrations depicting Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, a 14th century Italian poem about the writer’s fictional journey from the deepest circles of hell, up the mountain of purgatory and finally to paradise.

[. . .]

Dalí was initially commissioned by the Italian government to make the series in honor Dante’s birthday celebration but outrage over a Spaniard taking on an Italian poet’s work led officials to drop it. However, the artist had become so taken by the project that he couldn’t let it go. In the end he created a series of 100 watercolor paintings — one for each chapter of Dante’s book — that were reproduced as wood engravings. Each of those required about 35 separate blocks to complete the image

[. . .]

It’s called Purgatory Canto 32 and it shows a woman in blue next to a man in red.”    –Vanessa Romo, NPR, March 10, 2020

“Dante’s Inferno as Limericks and Comics”

“Circle I (the unbaptised)

Underway with the underworld herewith,
and I’m with – no, you’re with – fine, we’re with
the dwellers of Hades
born BCs, not ADs –
not all, but the ones you’d have beer with.

[. . .]

Circle VII

‘By these treestumps, my Master, what’s signified?’
‘These souls are eternally lignified.
We saw others scream
in an ichorous stream:
for the violent, no ending is dignified.’

Circle VIII

The fraudsters inhabit these cum-pits,
the forgers and classical strumpets.
And going down levels
we stumble on devils
whose derrières double as trumpets”    –Harry Cochrane and Leonardo Cardini, The Florentine, February 26, 2020

 

“Back to the Divine Comedy” at Ohio State University-Mansfield

“Cast members of ‘Back to the Divine Comedy’ face a bit of pressure. They will be the first in the United States to perform the musical, which is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. ‘Back to the Divine Comedy” is the last main-stage production of the season at the Ohio State University-Mansfield. It will be performed Feb. 28 and 29, as well as March 1 and 2. Creators Paolo Caselli and Claudio Caselli, of Italy, reached out to a number of American universities about doing the show. Joe Fahey, associate professor and director of theater at OSU-M, responded. He is co-directing the show with Lindsay Saltz.”    —Mark Caudill, Mansfield News Journal, February 18, 2020

“Super Bowl 2020 commercial for Dashlane drops you in terrifying password hell” – CNET

“In the minute-long spot, called ‘Password Paradise,’ a hooded mythological creature ferries a guy in a boat through swampy waters reminiscent of the River Styx in Dante’s Inferno. Ahead, there’s a bright, welcoming light and the sound of angelic voices. But to enter this paradise, the guy will need his password — which he’s naturally forgotten.

“The Charon-like creature prompts him to answer his security questions. No, it has be to the name of his first pet. You wanted to be a dolphin trainer when you grew up? Sorry, wrong answer dude!” [. . .]    –Leslie Katz, CNET, January 31, 2020.

Contirbuted by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

Journey Through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell – Led by Sherman Irby

“Last week we introduced you to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Music of Wayne Shorter and indicated that we’d cover more releases from their label. This installment is a suite of seven movements composed and conducted by the JLCO’s lead alto saxophonist, Sherman Irby, Inferno was performed live in 2012 and captured on this recording. It’s Irby’s interpretation of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem of the same name, which follows the author on his imagined, harrowing journey through the nine circles of Hell. To say it’s incendiary (pardon the reference) completely understates the passion of these performances.

“At the heart of the piece is the horn who plays the central character, the late baritone saxophonist that Irby recalls fondly, ‘I wrote this act for Joe Temperley,’ Irby remarks. ‘He was the band’s elder statesman and musical guide for almost 30 years. It was my honor to feature his beautiful, passionate sound as the voice of the central character, Dante.’ This is not an unusual gesture as bandmate, trombonist Chris Crenshaw says, ‘Sherman cares for his brethren, and he cares about this music, and that goes a long way.’ Besides, featuring his bandmates liberally in solos, (Movement V has six of them for example), this music is intelligent, unique, moody and ultimately swings crazily.” [. . .]    –Jim Hynes, Glide Magazine, February 6, 2020

Contributed by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S03E01

“It sounds insane to say but Sabrina’s journey through hell merged both The Wizard of OZ and Dante’s Inferno and it worked perfectly. Sabrina’s journey ends with a dash of Milton’s Paradise Lost and it’s all rendered is horrifying, beautiful images that would make any Renaissance poet swoon.

“It stands to reason that Dante, who took the most famous journey through hell in literature would get a shout out in Sabrina. She’s assigned to read it by her poor, formerly possessed teacher Miss Wardwell and from that gets the idea of finding a backdoor into hell, so she can save her boyfriend. Just doing Dante would be fine here, but we get the first hints of Oz as Sabrina gathers three friends to join her. And to get through hell, they need special shoes. Not ruby slippers though, but shoes of the dead. I guess the Ruby Slippers technically belonged to a dead person too, so well-played.

“After a spell that directly quotes Dante’s version of the inscription on the gates of hell – ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ – Sabrina, Harvey, Roz and Theo arrive in hell on the ‘Shore of Sorrow’ which sounds a lot like the way Dante arrives in hell himself, on the shores of the river Acheron (yes, Acheron is a term we hear in Sabrina for a trap for a demon). [. . .]”   — Jessica Mason, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Journeys to a Hellish Oz by Way of Dante’s Inferno,” Review (with spoilers!) of Season Premiere of Part Three of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix, 2020) on The Mary Sue

In Dante Veritas, Vasily Klyukin

In Dante Veritas is a large scale, immersive multimedia exhibition by Russian sculptor Vasily Klyukin. It represents a narrative that recreates the nine circles of hell, and includes over 100 multimedia elements, such as sculpture, installation, digital art, audio and light boxes. The exhibitions includes sculptural works, most of which represent negative human traits such as Anger, Gluttony and Betrayal.

“The most prominent sculptural pieces are the Four Horsemen of the Modern Apocalypse. The artist has translated the traditional Horsemen (plague, war, hunger and death) into a modern day version: Overpopulation, Misinformation, Extermination and Pollution.

[. . .]

“The immersive exhibition encourages visitors to examine the sculptures with an audio guide narrated in the style of Dante’s poems. The sculptures of human sins also portray the punishment that comes with the sin. For instance, Gluttony is incredibly obese and Temptation has no limbs.

“The exhibition also includes a ‘prison’ room, further embodying the topic of sin. Famous criminals such as Stalin, Pablo Escobar and Bokassa are imprisoned here. The prison has a dungeon room – Betrayal – which represents Hell. Visitors are encouraged to leave notes on the wall, allowing them to name people who have betrayed them, or to write a message of forgiveness.

“The exhibition ends on a positive note. The Heart of Hope is a large sculpture of a heart at the centre of the exhibition, which was also displayed at the Burning Man festival in 2017. It symbolises the ability to stop all the negative traits and sins. Visitors are given a bracelet which transmits a signal to the statue, which then beats in the rhythm of the bracelet wearer’s heartbeat.”    —Elucid Magazine

“I Have Wasted My Life,” Justin Phillip Reed (2020)

The poem “I Have Wasted My Life” by American poet and essayist Justin Phillip Reed invents the neologism “alighieried”: “No, / I alighieried down this sunken navel / to also cape for waste.” Read the full poem on Poetry Daily here (featured on January 23, 2020).

Contributed by Silvia Valisa (Florida State University)