“Sex and the City” the Movie (2008)

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Samantha’s handsome neighbor “Dante” inspires her to think she’s going to Hell just for looking at him.

“The Inferno Project” by Lauren Reinhard and the Rapscallion Theatre Collective (2008)

the-inferno-project-by-lauren-reinhard-and-the-rapscallion-theatre-collective-2008“The beginnings of the story are familiar: a man disillusioned with his life enters a wood in search of something. What follows however, is all new, equal parts horror, humor and hope. Through the course of the play we follow Dante and Virgil out of the wood and through history as Dante struggles to find his voice and the story of his life in order to save it.
Following the concept of the play is its construction; Reinhard interweaves text from historical speeches and quotes from such notables as Malcolm X, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Thatcher, Sojourner Truth, and Martin Luther King, Jr. into her original script. The result is an accurate and heartbreaking look at America’s past struggles and an equally hopeful look at its future.”    —Theater Online

Contributed by Aisha Woodward (Bowdoin, ’08)

“Enchanted Stories: Chinese Shadow Theater in Shaanxi” at the China Institute in NYC

fire-dragon-wing-dynasty“. . .One popular genre consists of scenarios of hell. An entire wall of the exhibition is devoted to a play called ‘The Twice-Visited Netherworld,’ a sort of Dante’s Inferno in which a scholar receives a special tour of the torturous ‘Yellow Springs’ described in Chinese folk religion. One startlingly vivid set piece shows a skeletal figure being boiled in oil (the punishment for blackmail and slander); in another, pierced and bloody bodies languish on Knife Mountain (home to those who have killed people or animals). As the legend of Emperor Wu of Han suggests, shadow theater has always had a powerful connection to the afterlife.” [. . .]    –Karen Rosenberg, The New York Times, February 8, 2008

Studio Dante, Chelsea, NYC

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Studio Dante (retrieved on January 30, 2008)

Vladimir Martynov, “Vita Nuova” Opera

vladimir-martynov-vita-nuova-opera “Next season, Mr. Jurowski will return to Lincoln Center with the London Philharmonic, bearing Mozart, Mahler, Strauss, a full evening of Rachmaninoff and the American premiere of Vladimir Martynov’s opera Vita Nuova, after Dante’s neo-Platonic treatise on love in verse and prose.”    –Matthew Gurewitsch, New York Times, January 27, 2008 (retrieved January 27, 2008)

See also: “Love Poems With Musical Annotation” by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, March 1, 2009

Writer Ethan Coen and Director Neil Pepe, “Almost an Evening” (2008)

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“Like many of the Coen brothers’ films, much of ‘Almost an Evening,’ nimbly directed by Neil Pepe, is touched by the premise that hell lurks right under the surface of, or just around the corner from, everyday life. Make that Hell, with a capital H, the same piece of real estate charted by Dante and Milton.” [. . .]    –Ben Brantley, The New York Times, January 23, 2008

“The Divine Reality Comedy” by the Bread & Puppet Theater

the-divine-reality-comedy-by-the-bread-puppet-theater“A theatergoer’s heart could be forgiven for sinking upon learning that the production she was scheduled to see at Theater for the New City was a riff on Dante called ‘The Divine Reality Comedy’ and featured a ‘Born to Buy’ critique set in ‘Paradise.’ But that heart lifted upon hearing that Peter Schumann’s ragtag collective, the Bread and Puppet Theater, was the company undertaking said riff.” [. . .]    –Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times, December 1, 2007

Giacomo Puccini, “Gianni Schicchi” (1918)

giacomo-puccini-gianni-schicchiFrom the last scene in Gianni Schicchi, one of Puccini’s three operas comprising Il Trittico, recently performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. “Seeing the two lovers, he (Gianni Schicchi) is moved. He smiles, takes off his hat, and turns to address the audience in a spoken epilogue: ‘Tell me, gentlemen, if Buoso’s wealth could have gone to better ends than this? For this prank, I have been condemned to the Inferno, and so be it; but with all due respect to the great father Dante, if you have been amused, grant me extenuating circumstances!’ He makes a motion of applause and bows to the audience.'”    —Stanford

The other two operas in Il Trittico also have Divine Comedy themes: “Puccini’s last operas abandon realism. The Trittico rebuilds the old vertical, spiritual theater, encompassing all the gradations of nature. Puccini’s original plan was to make the panels episodes from Dante; though that didn’t happen, they still constitute a divine comedy. Il Tabarro is set in an urban inferno, Suor Angelica in a convent which serves as the heroine’s purgatory, Gianni Schicchi in a mercenary Florence which from the heights of Fiesole looks like a radiant paradise. Because Dante’s was a journey through the undiscovered country, all three works map Orphic voyages into the underworld.”    –Peter Conrad, Opera Info (retrieved on May 15, 2007)

See pzweifel for Tuscan sites connected with Gianni Schicchi (retrieved on May 15, 2007).

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

“Dante Beatrix”

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Beatrix New York

Dante in Coney Island

dantes-inferno-coney-island“By Thursday, nearly 30 tractor-trailers had been loaded with classic Astroland rides and driven out. There was no sign of the Scrambler, the Tilt-a-Whirl or the Mini Tea Cup. Dante’s Inferno, a haunted house, stood empty and ravaged, looking more haunted than ever. The Pirate Ship was moored atop a flatbed truck, awaiting storage.” [. . .]    –David W. Dunlap and Ann Farmer, The New York Times, January 9, 2009

Photo by Marta Lwin, 2004