The William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies at Notre Dame has a distinguished tradition of events, academic exchanges, and conferences is international venues.
The International Dante Project wishes to follow and enhance this tradition from a performative perspective. Its innovative interdisciplinary event “Journeying la Divina Commedia: Desert, Discovery, Song,” has been conceptualized as a series of modules, each one with a distinctive look and message. Inferno develops like a play; Purgatorio like an installation gallery infused with medieval music; and Paradiso like a staged oratorio with magnificent images of the heavens.
Most importantly, creative directors Carmen-Helena Téllez, Anton Juan and Robin Kirkpatrick imagine an open-ended work that can be adapted to new locations, also responding to the cultural and logistical context. It is their desire to re-stage the complete interdisciplinary work or some of its modules in the Global Gateways of Notre Dame.
For example, the segment of Purgatorio, with its stories of revelation, art installations, and pilgrims singing glorious liturgical music, can be presented in distinctive architectural locations in Rome, London, Spain, and Chile that can permit the audience to travel through rooms and galleries. By the same token, the visual shape of the installations and the content of the revelations can respond to local stories and realities. The creative team has entered a conversation with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile to develop a specific version of Purgatorio that responds to the political experience of the country.
In the same manner, Paradiso can be presented on its own as an immersive cantata in the round, in suitable architectural spaces that can be enlivened by music, light and projections, and also allow the audience to sit inside the artistic experience, rather than in the regular proscenium format.