La Commedia

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La Commedia
Opera by Louis Andriessen
Louis Andriessen (2008).jpg
Composer Louis Andriessen in 2008
Librettist Louis Andriessen
Premiere 12 June 2008 (2008-06-12)
Koninklijk Theater Carré, Amsterdam

La Commedia is an opera in five parts composed by Louis Andriessen. A retelling of Dante's Divine Comedy, the multi-language libretto was constructed by Andriessen using extracts from Dante's poem as well as several other sources including the Old Testament and the poetry of Joost van den Vondel. Andriessen describes the work as a "film opera" and collaborated closely with film director Hal Hartley in its development. La Commedia premiered on 12 June 2008 at the Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam.[1]

Performance history[edit]

Following its Amsterdam premiere, La Commedia was performed in 2010 in concert version but with the same cast and musicians at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Carnegie Hall in New York. It received a further concert performance in London at the Barbican in 2016 performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Cristina Zavalloni and Claron McFadden reprising their original roles as Dante and Beatrice.[2][3][4] The opera won the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and in 2014 the recording of the premiere production was released on CD and DVD.[5][6]


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 12 June 2008[7]
(Conductor: Reinbert de Leeuw)
Dante mezzo-soprano Cristina Zavalloni
Beatrice soprano Claron McFadden
Lucifer baritone Jeroen Willems
Casella, Dante's dead friend tenor Marcel Beekman (de)
Chorus of men and women, chorus of children


  1. ^ Swed, Mark (20 June 2008). "'Commedia' is more than a little divine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  2. ^ May, Thomas (2010). "Program notes: La Commedia". Los Angeles Philharmonic. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  3. ^ Kozinn, Allan (16 April 2010). "Dante's Unearthly Story Updated for the Stage". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  4. ^ Hewett, Ivan (15 February 2016). "Louis Andriessen - Total Immersion / La Commedia, Barbican, review: 'a beacon in contemporary music'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  5. ^ Grawemeyer Awards (29 November 2010). "Dante-inspired opera wins Grawemeyer Award". Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  6. ^ Clements, Andrew (2 July 2014). "Andriessen: La Commedia review – a rich, important achievement". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  7. ^ Dutch National Opera. La Commedia. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

External links[edit]