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Dante, From Dusk to Dawn – Dante, dal tramonto all’alba

Friday 22 April   
Dante, From Dusk to Dawn – Dante, dal tramonto all’alba   
Cantos 27-33 of the Purgatorio from the Divine Comedy   

A musical-literary tribute by Alessandro Timossi to the great Italian poet in celebration of the 700th anniversary of his death, taking place at Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Milton Court Studio Theatre, London EC2Y 8DT.   

7.30pm Performance   

6.30pm Pre-Concert Talk (Alessandro Timossi in conversation with Enrico Palandri, writer and Professor of Modern European Literature, UCL and Venice)

Admission free but due to limited space please e-mail to reserve a seat.

It is 13 September 1321, and the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri lies gravely ill in Ravenna, cared for by two of his children. Between sunset and dawn the following day, when he dies, they exchange a few words, reminiscing. This is the setting for a performance of the closing Cantos of the Purgatorio, in which Dante and Beatrice meet again in the Garden of Eden, and at the end of which the poet is ready to ascend to Paradiso. Dante’s mystical, deeply personal and reflective poetry is filled with references to music. The nearly complete reading of the seven Cantos is inspired by the ancient Italian tradition of parlar cantando (‘speaking while singing’), and is immersed both in music that Dante quotes (liturgical monody), and that he might have known, from vernacular sacred songs (laude), to troubadours’ songs and early polyphony.

Concept, music and dialogues by Alessandro Timossi. Directed by Andrea Nicolini

Performance by Ensemble Phonodrama: Andrea Nicolini and Laura Repetto, actors; Fabrizio Giudice, guitar; Gianluca Nicolini, flute; Roberto Piga, violin; Luca Campodonico, percussion

The performance lasts appr. 80 minutes and it is in Italian.

This performance has been facilitated by the Guildhall School, and supported financially by its Research Department in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in London.

Alessandro Timossi was born in Genova and, after graduating in Italy both in piano and composition, he moved to London for a postgraduate composition course at the Guildhall School, subsequently competing his DPhil at the University of Oxford, where he explored the interplay of music theory and cognition in composition. More recently (in the soli-choir-ensemble pieces Sorella Musica on words by Luther, and Musica Amante on words by St Agustine) he has worked on older musics and texts re-imagined for the present time. He is the Head of Music Programmes and Academic Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Actor and theatre-music composer Andrea Nicolini has studied at the Teatro Nazionale of Genova, participating in more than 100 productions in Italy, and working with important directors such as Franco Branciaroli, Marco Sciaccaluga, Gabriele Lavia and Alfredo Arias, and with Peter Stein in his production of Dostoevsky’s Demons that won the Ubu prize in 2009. He founded the groups Ludus in fabula and Phonodrama to combine text, theatre and music, and runs acting workshops and courses for students and young adults. He has composed incidental music for theatre productions in Genova, Roma, Catania, Torino, Milano and Bologna.

The Ensemble Phonodrama is active since the early the 1990s creating performances that combine words, theatre and music in various venues in Italy, working on texts by, amongst others, Mazzini, Montale, D’Annunzio, Garcia Lorca, and recently native accounts of the mesoamerica conquest. In 2014, it took part in Euplay-L’Unità d’Europa attraverso la musica, financed by the EU and the European group Nemo Geie, and performed in Poland, UK, Belgium and Italy. The group, comprising Andrea Nicolini, actor and direction, Gianluca Nicolini, flute and Fabrizio Giudice, guitar, is joined for this projects by Laura Repetto, actress, Roberto Piga, violin, and Luca Campodonico, percussion.