Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th Celebrating Dante

Last night I had the option of attending an American July 4th picnic celebration at Villa Demidoff with the Tuscan American Association, or instead, attending a new musical interpretation of La Divina Commedia in Piazza Santa Croce. It was an easy choice. Dante rather than burgers and dogs. Fireworks for the soul.

It was indeed a spectacle within a spectacle, set outdoors under the stars in the Piazza, against the imposing backdrop of the Basilica. Although it was a very basic Broadway-type rendition of Dante's voyage into the beyond, it touched an audience of all ages and portrayed with minimalist symbolism, the universal message of the Commedia. As has been said, "You're not ready to start reading La Divina Commedia until you have just finished reading it". As someone who was deeply inspired by my studies of Dante in college, I can appreciate this.

Although no interpretation of Dante could ever do him justice, it was a dramatic introduction to this great literary work of art. I think it achieved its purpose of shaking the audience into a more profound state of mind, and that it will inspire many who haven't previously studied this masterpiece to learn more about Dante's literary genius. Another dream for study Dante again.

I've really found my place here in Florence.