After 700 years, Dante could finally be on his way home to Florence

“Seven centuries after the poet Dante was exiled from Florence, the Tuscan city wants him back – or at least what remains of him.

“The author of The Divine Comedy was banished from Florence for political reasons and eventually died in Ravenna on the Adriatic coast, where his remains are kept in a huge white tomb.

“Now Florence is probing the possibility of bringing him back ‘home’ for the 700th anniversary of his death, to be commemorated in 2021.

“Reclaiming the remains of the poet is potentially big business – around 400,000 people visit his tomb in Ravenna each year. [. . .]

“His remains are held in a tomb next to the Basilica of St Francis and Florence supplies the oil for the lamp that illuminates his resting place, in a perpetual act of penance for having banished him.

“Florence would like to have Dante back, for a limited period rather than permanently, in time for the 2021 commemorations of his death.

“But keenly aware of the intense regional rivalries and jealousy that still exist between Italy’s former city states, it is proceeding diplomatically.” [. . .]  — Nick Squires, The Telegraph, July 31, 2019.

Contributed by Cathy Robison, Clemson University

Dante’s Last Laugh

“Dante Alighieri will forever be associated with Florence, city of his birth and the dialect he helped elevate such that it would one day become the basis of Italy’s national language. Yet when Dante died nearly 700 years ago this week, Florence isn’t where he ended up.

“The story of how Dante’s remains came to be in Ravenna isn’t that complicated. It’s how they came to stay there that gets strange.

“When the poet died, sometime between September 13-14th, 1321, he hadn’t seen Florence for some 20 years. Exiled for life after finding himself on the losing side of a war for control of the city, Dante spent the next several years roaming, defiantly refusing conditional offers to return home on terms he saw as unjust.” [. . .]   — Jessica Phelan, The Local, September 14, 2018

Descendants of Lu Xun, Dante boost Sino-Italy cultural exchange

“The descendants of Chinese writer Lu Xun and Italian poet Dante Alighieri held a dialogue in Shanghai on Thursday in a bid to boost cultural exchanges between China and Europe.

“The trans-time-and-space dialogue between Lu (1881-1936), the “father of modern Chinese literature,” and Dante (1265-1321) was held at the Shanghai International Studies University in Hongkou District, where Lu spent the last decade of his life.

“Zhou Lingfei, the grandson of Lu, whose real name was Zhou Shuren, and Sperello Di Serego Alighieri, the 19th generation grandson of Dante, discussed the contributions and common features of their ancestors’ works.” […]    –Yang Jian, Shine, April 27, 2018

President Obama Compares Election to Dante’s Inferno

“At his final state dinner Tuesday, President Barack Obama compared the current presidential election to a trip through hell.

“Obama, who was hosting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, used a classic work of Italian literature to draw the comparison. ‘Some days our presidential campaign can seem like Dante’s Inferno,’ President Obama said in reference to the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to the Washington Post. The rest of the speech celebrated the relationship between the U.S. and Italy.” […]    –Daniel White, TIME, October 19, 2016

Francesca da Rimini at La Scala, Milan

Francesca-da-Rimini-La-Scala-Milano“15 April-13 May [2018]. This is the first time Francesca da Rimini, inspired by D’ Annunzio’s novel of the same name written in 1901, returns to La Scala in six decades.

“Zandonai’s opera, his most successful, was performed in Turin for the first time in 1914. This new La Scala production is conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by David Pountney with Maria José Siri in the lead role. Pountney is a British theatre and opera director known for his productions of rarely performed or new works. Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici 2, www.teatroallascala.org.” — Posted on wantedinmilan.com

L’Inferno delle Albe, Ravenna (2017)

Inferno-delle-Albe-Ravenna-2017“Ecco, presa con le dovute pinze la schematizzazione, una situazione analoga si presenta con il nuovo progetto del Teatro delle Albe. Va vissuto come spettacolo o come chiamata cittadina al teatro? Perché Inferno è entrambe le cose. Quale dunque la sintesi? Andiamo con ordine.

[…]

“Quello delle Albe non è un inferno filologico alla maniera dantesca, è una contaminazione di immaginari: passati e presenti. L’Inferno si fa veramente il luogo della perversione dell’io, quello in cui ciascuno si accanisce sul suo prossimo, bercia la propria ossessione, si strugge nella pena,  ma non sa dialogare, non riesce in alcun modo a stabilire una relazione. Ed ecco allora che la presenza purissima di Montanari e Martinelli più che una guida viene a rappresentare una fulgida luce nel buio eterno. Ecco che quell’unità pervicace, serena, limpida, nonostante le masnade di anime perse, marca la traccia di un ritrovarsi che è l’unica possibilità di vita, di vita vera, a questo mondo.” — Giulio Sonno, “Ma io, perché venirvi? Arte e partecipazione nell’Inferno delle Albe,” paperstreet.it (June 23, 2017)

Ravenna16 giugno 2017

INFERNO
Chiamata pubblica per la “Divina Commedia” di Dante Alighieri

ideazione, direzione artistica e regia: Marco Martinelli e Ermanna Montanari
in scena: Ermanna Montanari, Marco Martinelli, Alessandro Argnani, Luigi Dadina, Roberto Magnani, Gianni Plazzi, Massimiliano Rassu, Laura Redaelli, Alessandro Renda e i cittadini della Chiamata Pubblica

Of the plans for the project, artistic directors Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari explain, “The key with which we have translated the Dantesque ‘transcendence of human nature’ is to think of the work in terms of sacred mediaeval representations and the revolutionary mass theatre of Majakovskij: the whole city is a stage, all the citizens are called upon to ‘becoming a place’, to make a community.” For more information, including press releases and awards, see the Teatro delle Albe website.

See also the review by Massimo Merino on doppiozero.it.

Riccardo Milani, Come un gatto in tangenziale (2018)

A still from the film

Contributed by Silvia Salvatici and Gianni Guastella

Illustrations of the Comedy by Matteo Berton (2015)

Matteo-Berton-Giants-Inferno-Antaeus

“I had the great pleasure of working on the Divine Comedy for a children’s adaptation written by Paolo di Paolo and published by La Nuova Frontiera Junior in 2015.

“The project was selected by the Society of Illustrator of New York annual competition Illustrator 58 in 2016 and won a Silver Medal in the book and editorial category.” — Matteo Berton

Luigi Gaudio, Il Canto di Dante (2018)

Luigi-Gaudio-Il-Canto-di-Dante
On his album Il Canto di Dante, Luigi Gaudio sets the poetry of the Commedia to his own original musical compositions. The album was recorded at the Tappeti Sonori Recording Studio (Bresso, Italy) and was released in 2018.

The track listing, with links to YouTube videos, is below:
1. Smarrimento
2. Francesca
3. Ulisse
4. Ugolino
5. Casella
6. Manfredi
7. Ahi serva Italia
8. Libero arbitrio
9. Beatrice
lO. Piccarda
11. Divina Commedia Paradiso Canto XI
12. Esilio
13. Vergine Madre

Contributed by Luigi Gaudio

Performance for the Millennial Celebration of San Miniato al Monte (2018)

san-miniato-1000-terzine-dante“In occasione del Millenario di San Miniato, sabato 26 maggio, dalle h. 19.00 (partenza via dell’Erta Canina ang. via Monte alle Croci) centinaia di cantori saliranno dal quartiere di San Niccolò fino all’abbazia, recitando e interpretando le terzine dantesche dedicate al tema del cammino e della salita.

“‘A salire a le stelle /Legato con amore in un volume ciò che per l’universo si squaderna’ è una performance corale i cui protagonisti sono 306 cantori, il pubblico e le strade di Firenze, che tornano ad essere luogo di incontro per i cittadini, grazie a una esperienza culturale comune. I 306 cantori sono infatti di varia estrazione: ragazzi, professionisti, detenuti, personalità della vita pubblica, studenti, educatori, persone in stato di disagio psichico e/o economico, migranti, persone con la sindrome di Down, ragazzi che praticano il Parkour, i musicanti della Filarmonica di Marcialla, persone comuni e fuori dalla norma.” — Gonews.it

The performance was organized by the association Culter as part of their Piume | Dante 2021 program.

Contributed by Irene Zanini-Cordi (Florida State University)