The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is considered to be the greatest epic poem to come out of Italy. It is made up of 100 cantos and 14,233 verses. The poem represents the culmination of the medieval world-view and is divided into three sections: Inferno or Hell; Purgatory, where souls go to be purified before they can venture into Heaven; and Paradise or Heaven where God and the Virgin Mary live.
It is a highly complex work in which the structure is mathematically determined and the language is of a Tuscan origin, and helped set that dialect as the Italian standard of speech and writing. You might think it should be called a tragedy, but that title was reserved for works written in Latin. So what we have is a “comedy,” or a work written in everyday language, which contemplates the way the universe is set up and the importance of love - in that love only exists in Paradise.
Any sane person would think making a representation of this monumental and often impenetrable work was a hellish proposition, but not the artists who collaborated on La Divina Comedia L’Opera. They delivered a spectacle to enchant the ears, eyes, and heart.
Like its source material, the opera that results is also monumental, lasting three hours. It has a cast of 60: 24 singers, 20 ballet dancers, and 10 acrobats, plus six leading actors with a Griffin thrown in for good measure. They auditioned 2,500 applicants and chose the all-Italian cast. It has played in Rome before 150,000 and is now playing in Milan. I hope it travels the world
The skills of all the participants are first rate: great singing, impressive dances, enthralling gymnastics, and a gorgeous mise-en scene. The often-thrilling music was composed by Marco Frisina. The soaring score runs the gamut between Gregorian chant to blues and rock and roll.