2024 Grammy® Award Winner: Best Orchestral Performance
Album available on streaming services, CD, and vinyl.
Listen to a preview track, “XII. The Thieves—devoured by reptiles,” at the links below.
Recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in April 2022 during performances conducted by Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, Thomas Adès’ Dante is a ballet score in three acts – “Inferno,” “Purgatorio,” and “Paradiso” – inspired by the alternately chilling and sunlit landscapes of Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia.
Written in the 14th century, this seminal Italian poem recounts an initiatory journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Adès and choreographer Wayne McGregor brought this medieval Christian fantasy to life as The Dante Project in London 2021 with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Ballet via a narrative arc about a young woman named Beatrice who embodies a promise of love and hope.
This concert performance of the ballet score by the Los Angeles Philharmonic is the work’s world-premiere audio recording.
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel, Music & Artistic Director
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon, Artistic Director
Jenny Wong, Associate Artistic Director
Recorded voices in Purgatorio:
Khazan Gabriel A. Shrem, and the
Khazan and congregation of the Great
Ades Synagogue, Jerusalem
Wayne McGregor, Choreographer (The Dante Project)
Tacita Dean, Design (The Dante Project)
Side A: Inferno
I. Abandon Hope—
II. The Selfish—stung by wasps
III. The Ferryman
IV. Pavan of the Souls in Limbo—
V. Paolo and Francesca—the endless whirlwind
VI. The Gluttons—in slime
Side B: Inferno
VII. The Suicides—the bleeding trees—
VIII. The Deviants—on burning sand—
IX. The Fortune-tellers—facing both ways
X. The Popes’ Adagio—heads first—
XI. The Hypocrites—in coats of lead
XII. The Thieves—devoured by reptiles
XIII. Satan—in the lake of ice
Side C: Purgatorio
I. Dawn on the Sea of Purgatory—
II. Mount Purgatory—
III. The Valley of Flowers—
IV. The Healing Fire—
V. The Earthly Paradise—
VI. The Heavenly Procession—
VII. The Ascent
Side D: Paradiso
Paradise—Moon—Mercury—Venus—Sun—Mars—Jupiter (The Eagle)—Saturn (The Golden Ladder)—Fixed Stars—Empyrean
Dante is a co-commission of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Royal Ballet with generous support from the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund. Inferno was co-commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam.
“… reveling in the composer’s lurid musical imagination, bursting with color and wit and incident, and hellish visions of the underworld. Cinematic in its breadth and ambition.”
— BBC Radio 3 - Record Review
“Released from the confines of a theatre pit, Adès’s score becomes an orchestral spectacular, captured on the wing in live performances and splendidly recorded.”
— Financial Times
“[Dante], in its debut recording by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, ranks among the most fantastical and kaleidoscopic orchestral works of our time.”
“In any new shortlist of great ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten, and Bernstein, Dante must newly be included for its musical invention alone. There is not a second in its 88 minutes that doesn’t delight. All of it is unexpected and wanted.”
“A dizzying homage to Liszt, synagogue music, and the enchantingly upward infinity of the cosmos. Conceived as a ballet score, [Dante] belongs alongside the great dance music of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky that thrives on the concert stage.”
About the Composer:
Thomas Adès exemplifies a generation of composers who drew upon the long history of symphonic music but rethought those traditional forms with a postmodern eye and sometimes ironic distancing. A prodigious composer, conductor, and pianist, Adès was born in London in 1971. His singular body of work is crowned by three critically acclaimed operas: Powder Her Face (1995), The Tempest (2004), and The Exterminating Angel (2016), as well as the ballet Dante (2019-20). The recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Léonie Sonning Music Prize and the 2000 Grawemeyer Award (for his 1997 orchestral work Asyla), Adès was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival for a decade and has conducted many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, the Los Angeles Philhamonic, the New York Philharmonic, and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 he became the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural Artistic Partner; he premiered his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Kirill Gerstein as soloist with that orchestra in March 2019. He performs worldwide as a pianist, and coaches annually at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove.
About The Dante Project:
The first performance of The Dante Project, comprising Inferno: Pilgrim, Purgatorio: Love, and Paradiso: Poema Sacro, was staged at the Royal Opera House in London in October 2021. The Dante Project was a co-production between The Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet.
The Dante Project
Wayne McGregor, Choreography
Thomas Adès, Music
Tacita Dean, Design
Lucy Carter and Simon Bennison, Lighting Design Inferno: Pilgrim
Lucy Carter, Lighting Design Purgatorio: Love and Paradiso: Poema Sacro
Uzma Hameed, Dramaturgy
Edward Watson, Dante
Gary Avis, Virgil
Sarah Lamb, Beatrice
Artists of The Royal Ballet: Sinners, Penitents, and Celestial Bodies
Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, London