On October 8 and 9, evening performances of "Journeying La Divina Commedia: Desert, Discovery, Song" occurred at the Debartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame.
The production is a multimedia, interdisciplinary, experience of the journey from Hell to Paradise based on Dante's Divina Commedia. This re-imagining included an original libretto by Dr. Robin Kirkpatrick and premiere of a cantata "Paradiso" by Robert Kyr. Conceptually, the project was led by Carmen Helena-Tellez as well as Anton Juan. More information here.
The performance itself included soundscapes, video art & projection, dancers, actors, an instrumental ensemble, set designing/building, and singers (choir and soloists) in this modern Gesamtkunstwerk. A beautiful example of collaboration!
This past Spring I had been involved with conceptual aspects of the production - spaces to be used for the different portions, expanding the student co-creative committee, etc. and was later hired this summer to create visual animation work for the Cosmogony. It was such a blessing to come back down to Notre Dame to run and cue animations and projections throughout the course of the culminating performances. I love being on this other side of the stage!
[Picture I took of Paradiso]
One of my favorite aspects about this project is how it combined scholarship/Dante's epic poem and brought it to life with an immersive audio-visual experience. In fact, one of the aspects I feel most strongly about is the incorporation of music, particularly classical, with technology in production where it stems from works of art from the past. The idea of not dismissing the past, but of innovation used to bring up new ways of looking at and experiencing the past creates a powerful link that combines past and future in the space of the present environment.
[Hellmouth, portal to Hell]