a performative event to commemorate Italian maximum poet Dante Alighieri in the VII century anniversary from his death
with the actor Alberto Martinez Guinaldo, the opera singer Fritjof Fuglesang and 30 students from CISPA – Copenaghen International School of Performing Arts
dramaturgy and director Giuseppe L. Bonifati, IT
piano and original music Claudio Passilongo, IT
choreography Kristóf Várnagy, HU
set design Linda Sugataghy, HU
a partnership DOO performing arts group (IT) / Det Flyvende Teater / CISPA – Copenaghen International School of Performing Arts, University of Copenhagen- Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies, Societá Italiana Dante Alighieri in Copenhagen (DK)
with the support of MIBACT – Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Dante 2021 Italian Cultural Institute in Copenaghen Lasson Andersens Fond
The Divine Comedy is a sacred poem by the Italian maximum poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), comprising three parts, Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory) and Paradiso (Paradise). Each of these are composed of 33 canti, plus an introductory canto. Altogether there are 100 canti, nearly 150,000 verses, written from 1307 till1319, when, at the end of his life, both relieved and melancholic, Dante finally finished his work. The Divine Comedy is more than a literary monument for the Western culture: it is a reference. Even for those who have never read it, this text makes sense and seems like a mythical country in which you visit the underworld, dreading punishments, in which you go through paradise, searching for the divine revelation. Many writers and artists have been fascinated by this text, its images, visions, hallucinations, the breadth of its registers (amorous, mystical, erudite, allegorical, political, poetical…) and many have wanted to translate it, to spread its treasures. A masterpiece of world literature which has accompanied thousands of generations in their growth and formation.
We would like to dive in the depth of the opera and not to merely show an “adaptation” of it. In this sense, we will work with the actors to transform themselves into the Poet, the Guide and the many figures populating the realm of underworld. Embodying the start of a journey into the unknown. Ed elli a me is a recurring incipit in the whole Divine Comedy and it echoes loudly in the Inferno, whichis a monument of pain the Poet must necessarily go through. Descended in a dark wood, he doubts, he fears, he suffers, his way is blurred and lost. The Guide exhorts him, and admonishes him. Alone in the epicentre of sin and evil, or on the contrary, surrounded by the crowd and confronted with the world’s tumult, everything shakes the Poet: the violence of the images, the fall of his own body into matter, the animals, the damned souls and spectres. The visual and musical composition of the performances will be based on the stupor, sometimes the dread, that seizes the man making him pale and defenceless in front of the staggering elements. But this fragility becomes strength, however, because it is the condition of a paradoxical lightness. We will show to the spectators that at the bottom of our own fears exists a secret space, shaped by darkness, in which we can recognise ourselves and “the unspeakable mystery of life”.
Premiere: 13-14 September 2021, Universitetsbiblioteket i Fiolstræde
photo: Fred Gustavos
The audience will be introduced into the space of the performance, the evocative old university library, by Dante and Virgilio, embodied by Spanish actor Alberto Martinez Guinaldo and Danish opera singer Fritjof Fuglesang. Dante and Virgilio guide the spectators into the horrific empire of Inferno. “Lasciate ogni speranza o voi che entrate”. The infernal creatures, dressed in firefighter suits, are waiting to receive a visit from the outside world. They quiver for telling a story that burns them inside: they all have a secret sin to confess. The audience participates in a speed-date with the various creatures populating Inferno. The idea is to give a very intimate experience to the spectators, who will be able to change partners every five or ten minutes. 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which sins ignite in Hell and turn into ashes, with the confessions made to the visitors from the earthly world. The spectators will be introduced into a hellish prison of knowledge, where the penitents are forced to atone for their earthly sins. Precisely to burn inside, like the protagonists of many literary works do. The infernal creatures will be personified by the thirty student actors from CISPA Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts.
The performance, conceived and directed by the Italian artist Giuseppe L. Bonifati, with original music composed by Maestro Claudio Passilongo, is the result of a partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute of Copenhagen and Societá Italiana Dante Alighieri, and a collaboration with Prof. Pia Schwarz Lausten, expert in Italian literature from the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen. The event is conceived for celebrating Dante in Denmark.