‘Dante’s Inferno isn’t hot enough for you,’ says judge

“STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Earlier this month, Anthony Morales admitted to slaying a neighbor and her son on a Mariners Harbor street two years ago.

“But the stocky 51-year-old defendant didn’t apologize for their deaths at his sentencing on Wednesday. Instead, Morales presented himself as the victim, claiming the decedents had harassed and tormented ceaselessly over the years, had followed him to a home he owned in Pennsylvania and had “come looking for” him on the day they died.

“State Supreme Court Justice Mario F. Mattei listened patiently to Morales’ rambling seven-minute monologue in his St. George courtroom packed with the victims’ distraught relatives. And when Morales finally sat down, the judge didn’t mince words or hide his disdain.” […]    –Frank Donnelly, SiLive, May 30, 2018

“The Hellish Descent of the Central African Republic”

“The death records of the Bangui morgue in the Central African Republic read like a chapter out of Dante’s Inferno: page after page of people killed by machetes, torture, lynchings, shootings, explosions and burning. The overwhelming stench makes it impossible to stay there for long. On really bad days only the number of dead is recorded – not their names nor the causes of death – before the bodies are buried in mass graves

“The morgue is a terrible symbol of the toll of communal violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), which has raged for months and claimed tens of thousands of lives, displacing even more. Recently, the Séléka, a predominantly Muslim group of fighters that seized Bangui, the capital, and toppled the CAR’s government in early 2013, have lost some ground – although they continue to terrorise wherever possible. In response Christian forces known as anti-balaka (balaka means ‘machete’ in Sango, the local language) have stepped up attacks against Muslim civilians in places where the Séléka no longer holds the sway it did a few months ago. ” [. . .]    –Peter Bouckaert, The Telegraph, February 19, 2014.

Unlikely Pairing Turns to Intense Affinity at Carnegie

The pianist Daniil Trifonov and the baritone Matthias Goerne performing at Carnegie Hall (2018)

 

[…]  “And in a stunning contrast, Wolf’s ultra-melodious treatments of somewhat static reflections by Michelangelo gave way immediately to Shostakovich’s more angular renderings of that Renaissance genius’s more politically charged defense of Dante, and his praise of sleep, oblivion and death in the face of vice and criminality. These songs carry the listener almost to the realm of, say, Mussorgsky’s “Songs and Dances of Death,” which Shostakovich orchestrated.” […]    –James R. Oestreich, The New York Times,  February 7, 2018

Dante as guide in “Coco” (2017)

Miguel and Dante

 

[…] “Miguel, the 12-year-old protagonist of ‘Coco,’ embarks on such a quest. Along with his companion, a stray dog fittingly named Dante, he treks through the underworld while facing obstacles and bad omens that pop up constantly. (In Spanish ‘coco’ means ‘boogeyman,’ which is a nickname for the devil.) But since this is a children’s movie, the challenges bring laughter, which isn’t altogether alien to Mexico’s approach to death. To laugh at death in Mexico is to be courageous.” […]    –Ilan Stavans, The New York Times, December 11, 2017