Presentation of “SEEKING DANTE”

LOOKING FOR DANTE (Alla ricerca di Dante)

Musical tale for actor, baritone and orchestra

What if… what if they asked you to write something on Dante Alighieri, THE Poet, something new of course. And to do it quickly, because there’s an old actor who just happens to be en vogue again and needs the pièce right now, for his new show that celebrates Dante’s 750th anniversary.

That’s what happens to Francesca, writer. Of course you can’t say no to Dante, and to an old glory from the theater. But alas, here comes the trouble: there’s already a million texts on Dante. The life and works of The Poet have been studied, dissected, loved, hated, discussed for centuries. Seven centuries. By scholars much better equipped than she is.

Is there anything that hasn’t been written yet, anything new at all… is there still space for a bit of mistery, in Dante’s life?

Here’s the idea: let’s find out the humanity of Dante – first and foremost a man, not just a poet. Let’s imagine him in his most fragile moment… let’s imagine his thoughts in a late afternoon in mid-September of 1321, in what we know will be his last hours.

Memories pile up in the delirious hours consumed by fever. Dante is at the helm of his boat, sailing his rough inner sea. He sees for a last time some of his life’s turning points as a politician, a citizen of the Florentine Republic, an exiled man, a poet.

In the hour when time, suspended, expands, friends and enemies together come visiting him one last time. Dante on his boat sails toward the last landing, the most difficult, the sweeter.

He holds the helm and looks at the storm before him. His crew is the whole humanity, cataloged, pigeonholed, condemned, penitent, blessed. And he is the Captain, the Master of comedians, the Capocomico of the Society of the Divine Comedy…

He leaves everything behind.

Farewell, everybody.

Alone, finally.

Dante closes his eyes. A last smile lingering.

Brightened by that Light, which only shade a light on Life’s Mystery.

Francesca Varisco

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