Riccardo Muti in concert in Florence to celebrate Dante
On 13 September, a musical event to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Supreme Poet's death
For the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's death, various events will be held throughout Florence. On 6 September the Boboli Gardens will be transformed into a theatre and will host Dante's journey through Paradise, Purgatory and Hell, while on 13 September there will be a concert conducted by maestro Riccardo Muti.
The concert will feature the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Choir and is supported by the National Committee for the celebrations.
The same concert will also be held on 12 September in Ravenna and on the 15th in Verona, thus ideally uniting in one great musical event the three cities to which the Supreme Poet was most attached.
The programme, the same for the three dates, includes Giuseppe Verdi's 'Laudi alla Vergine Maria', Franz Liszt's 'Dante-Symphonie' and the first Italian performance of Tigran Mansurian's 'Purgatorio', with the participation of Armenian baritone Gurgen Baveyan and Giovanni Sollima on cello.
Mansurian, whose delicate and crystalline writing is often inspired by sacred music but also by popular tradition, juxtaposes two well-known poetic places in Purgatory: the incipit of Canto I, 'Per correr miglior acque alza le vele', and the prayer of the Padre nostro with which Canto XI opens.
Giuseppe Verdi's source for the Laudi alla Vergine Maria, which opens the programme, is the first seven tercets of the last canto of Paradise - the prayer Dante had St Bernard of Clairvaux address to the Virgin Mary.
One of the most famous pages inspired by Dante, the Dante-Symphonie that Liszt concludes, after having explored Hell and Purgatory, with a Magnificat, guides our gaze to Paradise, thus closing the circle of the musical programme.