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Inferno

Lucia Ronchetti *1963

An opera.
Libretto by Lucia Ronchetti after Dante Alighieri, with an epilogue by Tiziano Scarpa.
Commissioned by Oper and Schauspiel Frankfurt.

Performed in German and Italian with German surtitles

A real journey to hell! In the beginning of the 14th century Dante Alighieri described what might happen in the afterlife with extraordinary fantasy. A powerful work was inspired by it, which now comes to the Bockenheimer Depot as an Art Road Movie. The Italian composer Lucia Ronchetti, while staying close to the text, allows sound landscapes come into being in which selected episodes from the Inferno (Part I of the Divine Comedy) take shape. She calls her work an opera. There are roles for singers and actors, a vocal quartet - »Dante's inner voice« - a chorus of spirits from hell, and the damned. The musicians are part of the action too. A man »in the middle of life's journey« in the abyss: Dante turns himself into a protagonist. Driven into exile, failed as a poet, politician and man, he reinvents himself while describing his own process of purification drawing, at the same time, a very detailed picture of Italy on the threshhold between the Middle Ages and New Age. Dante's frightening explicit language and vivid portraits of many of his contemporaries, who he meets on the journey to hell, sometimes full of sympathy, sometimes full of justified fury, become a mirror for our times. Unlike the original, in which Lucifer is described at the end, but nothing more, Lucia Ronchetti lets the Prince of Darkness speak in an epilogue. The Italian romancer Tiziano Scarpa wrote the cryptic text for her. The Devil asks Dante (and us): »Are you brave enough, to listen to me?«