89Vatican working on Divine Comedy Rock Opera!
- Jan 4, 2007Vatican plans punk version of Divine Comedy
[Published: Wednesday 3, January 2007 - 09:38]
By John Phillips in Rome
The Vatican has challenged purist Roman Catholics by disclosing plans
for a daring rock, punk and jazz opera version of Dante's Divine
Comedy with a soundtrack written by an avant-garde priest.
Monsignor Marco Frisina uses rock music as background for the
Inferno, Gregorian chants for Purgatory and lyrical and symphonic
classical and modern music for the advent of Paradise in the musical
set to be staged in the autumn.
After a premier in a leading Rome theatre sponsored jointly by the
Vatican and Italy's two houses of parliament, the extravaganza will
tour other major Italian and European cities "to bring back the
attention of the widest public to Dante's immortal poem", Riccardo
Rossi, director general of Nova Ars, the company producing the opera,
told La Repubblica newspaper.
The director, Elisabetta Marchetti, is recruiting a cast of 20 singer-
actors, 30 ballet dancers led by the choreographer Anna Cuocolo, a
100-piece orchestra and 50 extras while as many as 250 costumes will
be designed by Alberto Spiazzi. The screenplay for the ambitious
production, which is officially entitled The Divine Comedy, the
Opera, and subtitled "The man who seeks love," is being written by
Gianmario Pagano, with the sets being designed by Paolo Micciche.
The story will be represented by 150 images, projected by six
advanced technical systems, which will give the audience the
impression of sitting next to the actors and dancers.
Rehearsals are due to start at the end of this month, meaning that
the casting for actors to play Dante, Virgil and Beatrice should be
disclosed imminently. "The only thing certain is that Dante will be
interpreted by a very well known Italian singer-actor," said Mr
Dismissing suggestions that Dante's haunting literary work might be
considered to have little relevance to modern life, Mgr Frisina, who
has written the screenplays for popular Italian television films on
the lives of two previous popes, John Paul II and John Paul I, said
he was dedicating the unusual work to Pope Benedict XVI.
"It is highly relevant... the poem is an inexhaustible source of
stories, messages and teaching... his characters, while belonging to
past epochs, speak to the men of today with their desire for
knowledge, their fears, but essentially with their wish for elevation
toward divine beauty," he told la Repubblica. "This is the poem of
our Christian roots, of our faith, the opera of man in search of
love, of the true sense of life... that is why I dedicate this
musical version of the Commedia to Benedict XVI, the Pope who
dedicated his first encyclical to love."
Mgr Frisina said that he would use heavy metal rhythms, punk rock and
jazz to recount Hell, Gregorian mystical music for Purgatory and a
triumphant explosion of lyrical and symphonic music, modern as well
as classical, to usher in Paradise.
Recent years have seen a revival of interest in the Divine Comedy in
Italy, with numerous public readings.
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