Riccardo Muti’s “Concert for Dante” in Rome (2020)

“As part of ongoing programs that commemorate the 700th anniversary of the death of celebrated Italian poet Dante Alighieri this year, Riccardo Muti leads a special “Concert for Dante” in Rome on Oct. 3…

muti-leads-concert-for-dante-in-rome-october-2-2020The program features several works and composers inspired by Dante’s masterwork The Divine Comedy, which portrays the poet’s journey through the afterlife traveling through the Inferno, Purgatory and ultimately arriving in Paradise. The Te Deum, which is recognized as one of the earliest surviving Christian hymns, is heard by the poet as he enters Purgatory. Verdi’s Laudi alla Vergine Maria, an a cappella choral work for female voices, incorporates text from a short prayer in Canto XXXIII of Paradise, the third part of The Divine Comedy. Composer Franz Liszt, who is represented on this program with his symphonic poem Les préludes, was a great admirer of Dante’s work and was also inspired to write the Dante Symphony, which Muti, Zell Music Director of the CSO, led in performance in 2017, and offers a glimpse into the theological and emotional world portrayed in The Divine Comedy. 

The celebrations to honor Dante, whom many recognize as the “Father of the Italian Language,” started several weeks ago on Sept. 5 when President Mattarella participated in a special ceremony at the poet’s tomb in Ravenna, Italy, where the Dante died in 1321.” []    —CSO Sounds & Stories, October 2, 2020

See more information on special Dante anniversary programs at Dante2021.

“It’s Art: Resuscitated CPR Dolls & Dante’s Divine Comedy

“Today, we present German artist Thomas Zipp’s September 5, 2014 performance / exhibition, Effects of Stimulus-Range and Anchor Value on Psychophysical Judgement (The Laerdal Rehearsals). In it, Resusci Anne CPR dolls were brought “back to life” to the recorded sounds of a performance of Dante’s Divine Comedy.”    –Emerson Rosenthal, Vice, October 17, 2014

Giovani Artisti per Dante 2018

“Dante: everybody’s or nobody’s, untouchable heritage or living culture? The Festival answers with Young Artists for Dante, the daily events in the Ancient Franciscan Cloisters by the poet’s Tomb, from June the 1st to July the 5th at 11 in the morning. There are students, actors, musicians, dancers; they are local artists and groups, or they answered to the international call for proposals, and stood out among the dozens applications. Week after week, they will reveal five points of view on Dante’s universe, at the crossroads between history and imagination, poetry and music, body and soul. In collaboration with the Municipality of Ravenna, Società Dante Alighieri, and Società Dantesca Italiana, and with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, hosting the events in the Cloisters it owns, the Festival offers Young Artists for Dante to the audience of citizens and visitors at the symbolic admission fee of 1 euro.

Dante: so superior to be out of reach, father of the Italian language, a pillar of literature of all times, all places; the author of a work that mirrors and contains the whole world, human and divine. But also Dante: in the language the Italians speak everyday, in the ideas, in the opinions; his profile is unmistakable, symbol of a culture that still conquers the heart and the imagination of people from any tradition, any country. The Festival that has made of the city’s history the keystone of its own identity – looks forward to the year 2021, the 7th centenary of Dante’s death, while it thinks and rethinks Dante – not far, but very close – with the third edition of Young Artists for Dante.”    —Ravenna Festival, May 25, 2018

Dante the Magician

“With Dante’s death, what historically has been known as the ‘Golden Age of Magic’ came to an end. Gone were the variety theaters of the world, and with it were the large traveling magic productions that had thrilled and mystified millions for generations.”    –“Harry August Jansen,” Wikipedia, 21 September 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2020.

Learn more about Dante, the “King of Magicians,” here.

Inferno at San Francisco’s Gray Area Festival

“I’m in the middle of the dance floor. The strobe lights above me are popping in time with the thundering kick drums and violent synth-bass rolling out of the speakers at 110 beats per minute. I’m shuffling to the rhythms, but I’m only able to control the lower half of my body. All of my movements from the waist up are being dictated by an exoskeleton strapped onto my trunk like a jacket.

“My arms jerk up and down and twist from side to side with the beat, but my own muscles aren’t doing the work; my flesh is being pushed around in space by the 45 pounds of metal, cable, and hydraulic cylinders running across my shoulders and down my arms. A robot is making me dance.” [. . .]

“The dance show, titled Inferno, is meant to be an experiential representation of hell, and I suppose it is, just maybe more fun. Inferno has been touring the world for a couple of years, and it made its US premiere in San Francisco this past weekend at the Gray Area Festival.” [. . .]    –Michael Calore, Wired, July 30, 2019.

Read more about Inferno and the Gray Area Festival on Wired.

 

La Divina Commedia Opera Musical a Torino nel 2020

“Prodotta da Music International Company, ‘La Divina Commedia Opera Musical’ può vantare un team creativo d’eccezione con 24 cantanti-attori e ballerini-acrobati, più di 50 professionisti eoltre 200 costumi utilizzati dal cast. Ad arricchire questa grande squadra ci sono poi gli oltre 50 scenari che si susseguono sul palco a ritmo serrato e tengono alta l’attenzione del pubblico di ogni età. Uno spettacolo assolutamente da non perdere che andrà in scena a Torino dal 24 al 29 marzo 2020.” [. . .]    —Guida Torino, 2019.

Contributed by Silvia Byer (Park University)

“Synetic Theatre takes us all to hell”

“Pushing a performer’s body to its limits has always been a Synetic hallmark, along with an eagerness to incorporate elements of whatever other art forms can help to embroider an evening’s subject. Classic mime, movie horror, military formation all come into play in Synetic’s interpretation of the “Inferno” portion of Dante Alighieri’s allegorical epic poem the Divine Comedy. (The production’s title has been changed from the original ‘Dante’ and then later, ‘Dante’s Divine Comedy.’)

“What remains is a narrative that skims the surface of the poem, as Dante himself, in the guise of the Tsikurishvilis’ red-cloaked gymnast son, Vato, ventures through the circles of hell with Virgil (Alex Mills). In Synetic’s version, Dante, suffering from writer’s block, is in pursuit of an afterlife reunion with his love and muse, Beatrice (an angelic Tori Bertocci).

“The story provides the Tsikurishvilis and their longtime collaborators, set and costume designer Anastasia Simes and soundscape composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze, with a canvas for some ghoulishly sinister stuff — another popular Synetic motif. Simes’s hell is decked out like some really durable parlor of sadomasochism, with demons in studs and leather and Lucifer (Philip Fletcher) looking like a sexy roadie for Marilyn Manson.” [. . .]    –Peter Marks, The Washington Post, October 5, 2016.

You can read more about Synetic Theatre and get tickets for their current season here.

Teatro delle Albe’s fedeli d’Amore (2018)

fedeli d’Amore (Love’s faithful) is a ‘polyptych in seven panels’ written by Marco Martinelli ‘about’ Dante Alighieri and our present day. Different voices speak to us in the individual panels: the fog of a dawn in 1321, the demon of the pit where the merchants of death are punished, a donkey that carried the poet on his last journey, the ‘scolding’ imp who incites brawls about money, Italy kicking herself, Alighieri’s daughter Antonia, and ‘an end that is not an end’.

“These voices speak to us of the refugee, of the poet fled from his own city which has condemned him to burning at the stake; and now he is on his deathbed, exiled in Ravenna, sick with ague. First the fog slips in through the window cracks, enters that little room, and it describes him on the threshold of the extreme transition. Those voices are suspended between the fourteenth century and our own day, and Martinelli’s writing accepts, and not from today, the Dantesque challenge to hold together political and metaphysical ‘reality’, chronicle and spirituality.

Love is evoked as the polestar of the fedeli d’Amore, a force that frees humanity from violence, that saves ‘the garden plot that renders us so fierce’. The voices of this ‘polyptych’ are one single voice that can contain numberless voices, that of Ermanna Montanari: air, fire, sound, matter.

“This ‘polyptych’ for the stage enriches the itinerary which, together with Ravenna Festival, Martinelli, Montanari and Teatro delle Albe began in 2017 with Inferno, and which will continue in 2019 and 2021 with the other two parts of The Divine Comedy.

“fedeli d’Amore is one more tessera in their ceaseless dramaturgical, vocal, musical and visual research, alongside such wise folk as Luigi Ceccarelli and Marco Olivieri, Anusc Castiglioni and Simone Marzocchi; and it lies in that furrow where the vocal-sound alchemy of the figure is central.” [. . .]    —Teatro delle Albe, 2018.

Debuting on June 15, 2018, fedeli d’Amore was devised and directed by Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari, and produced by Teatro delle Albe/Ravenna Teatro in collaboration with Fondazione Campania dei Festival – Napoli Teatro Festival Italia 2018 (progetto cofinanaziato da POC Campania 2014-2020) and Teatro Alighieri-Ravenna.

Read more about the details of the production at Teatro delle Albe.

Relatedly, Teatro delle Albe staged L’inferno delle Albe, which you can read about here.

Staging Dante Today by Teatro delle Albe (2019)

“The Center for Italian Studies and the Italian Studies Section of the Department of Romance Languages are happy to announce a three-day residency (2/27 – 3/1) of distinguished actress and author Ermanna Montanari with dramaturg and director Marco Martinelli, founders of the experimental theatre company Teatro delle Albe in Ravenna! They will participate in classes and hold meetings with students and faculty.

“On Thu., 2/28, at 5:30, at the Annenberg Center Live (Montgomery Theatre), Montanari and Martinelli will present the show Staging Dante Today including ‘Cantiere Dante,’ sharing with the audience the experience of Inferno performed in 2017 in Ravenna with the participatory support of its citizens, first part of the project “Divine Comedy 2017-2021,” also featured at Matera 2019 (European Capital of Culture). This will be followed by ‘Il cielo sopra Kibera,’ a photographic report from a piece directed by Martinelli recently performed by 140 children and teenagers in one of Africa’s largest slums in Nairobi. In addition, Ermanna Montanari will read canto XXXIII from Dante’s Inferno as well as the poem ‘Ahi serva Italia,’ drawn from the Albe’s latest show fedeli d’Amore, for which she recently won the prestigious Award for Best Actress/Performer ‘Premio Ubu 2018’ of the Associazione Franco Quadri!” [. . .]    –Penn Arts & Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 2019.

See more about Teatro della Albe’s show here.

Classic Serial: Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy

BBC Radio 4’s Classic Serial program offers a reading of the Divine Comedy by professional actors, as well as a few behind-the-scenes clips on the making of the radio program.

“Blake Ritson, David Warner and John Hurt star in Stephen Wyatt’s dramatization of Dante’s epic poem – the story of one man’s incredible journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.”     –BBC Radio 4, Classic Serial, 2019.

You can see more of the Classic Serial episodes and behind-the-scenes extras on the BBC Radio 4 site.