Two years after it premiered at Covent Garden to general acclaim, Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor's The Dante Project makes a welcome return to the Royal Opera House stage.
Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy, which McGregor chose to adapt to dance, is considered the greatest literary work in the Italian language. Written in the 14th century, it describes the poet’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, guided first by the poet of Ancient Rome, Virgil, and then by the love of his life, Beatrice.
For his epic account of Dante's masterpiece, McGregor surrounded himself with an impressive array of collaborators. The composer Thomas Adès contributed a superlative score: lush, varied, erudite, eloquent and totally transporting. The artist Tacita Dean created the graphic sets for the poet's journey: her Inferno is a place of darkness, while Purgatorio is a place of light that seems to suggest redemption through repentance; her Paradiso is the cosmos, the dancers points of light swirling around.
Inventive and atmospheric lighting design comes from McGregor regular collaborator Lucy Carter and Simon Bennison, with Uzma Hameed's dramaturgy shaping the narrative.
A work of this magnitude offers plenty of roles for company corps and soloists. The role of the poet was created on Edward Watson, one of the Royal Ballet's most expressive dancers. It was his final role for the company prior to retirement at 45; his replacement hasn't yet been announced, but whoever it is has huge shoes to fill. However, with The Royal Ballet's current strong crop of male soloists, no doubt a suitable new interpreter will be found.
For guidance, find Culture Whisper's ★★★★★ of The Dante Project's 2021 premiere here.
|What||The Royal Ballet, The Dante Project, ROH Autumn 2023|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
18 Nov 23 – 02 Dec 23, 19:30. Sat 18 Nov & 2 Dec 19:00. Mat Sat 2 Dec at 13:00. Dur.: 2 hours 45 mins inc two intervals
|Website||Click here to book|