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LA Phil/Dudamel: Dante

Thomas Adès at 50

Gustavo Dudamel conducting

Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil go to Hell and back in the first UK concert performance of Thomas Adès’s astonishing Dante – a fire-and-brimstone ballet music trilogy based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Heaven, hell, and everything between – no-one can accuse Adès of avoiding the big subjects. The first part of this colossal symphonic ballet score got a standing ovation in LA; hearing the complete work will show Dudamel, his orchestra, and Adès at the absolute peaks of their powers.

Which is only fitting, because by all accounts Dante is a knockout. With Liszt as his spirit-guide, Adès imagines Hell, Purgatory and finally Paradise. ‘I wanted to have this strange feeling that you were almost falling down into the past’ he says, and although the ballet has already been staged at the Royal Ballet, this is a first chance to hear this 21st-century epic in all its uncompromising, full orchestral glory. ‘It’s going to be a thriller’, hopes Adès – and we’d expect no less.

End-time to be announced nearer the event.


‘The ballet score begs spectacle. It begs color. It begs humor and surrealism and irreverence, a dollop of wackiness even.‘

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Barbican Hall