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By Culturekiosque Staff

NEW YORK, 14 APRIL 2010 — A highlight of Dutch minimalist composer Louis Andriessen’s current Carnegie Hall residency will be tomorrow night's performance and New York premiere of his 2008 opera La Commedia presented in a concert version in Stern Auditorium. Commissioned for Netherlands Opera and premiered at the Holland Festival in June 2008, the opera is based principally on Dante’s La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) and inspired by paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. The composer describes it as a ‘film opera’ in five parts. For its European premiere in Amsterdam, the full-evening work of music-theatre was a collaboration between Andriessen and film director Hal Hartley.

Summing up his admiration for the Italian poet's work, Andriessen said: "I see Dante’s Divina Commedia as one of the highest points ever reached in literature and philosophy. It combines complexity, intellectualism, horror, beauty, multi-layering, allusions, historical and mythological references, and, above all, irony. I selected sequences of material in the same order as in Dante’s book. So the first two scenes take us from the City of Dis down through Inferno to the deepest regions of hell where we meet Lucifer in the third part. This is where Adam’s Fall is described. We then pass upward through the lighter-hearted Garden of Earthly Delights until we reach Paradise in the final section, Eternal Light."

From a background of jazz and avant-garde composition, Louis Andriessen (b. 1939, Utrecht) has evolved a style employing elemental harmonic, melodic and rhythmic materials. The range of Andriessen's inspiration is wide, from the music of Charles Ives in Anachronie I, the art of Mondriaan in De Stijl, and medieval poetic visions in Hadewijch, to writings on shipbuilding and atomic theory in De Materie Part I. He has tackled complex creative issues, exploring the relation between music and politics in De Staat, the nature of time and velocity in De Tijd and De Snelheid, and questions of mortality in Trilogy of the Last Day.

Mr. Andriessen will also curate a late-night improvisatory concert in Weill Hall sharing a program with British saxophonist Evan Parker and Dutch singer Greetje Bijma, who performs with Andriessen on piano (16 April).

Louis Andriessen: La Commedia (concert version, New York Première)
Film opera in five parts
Texts by Dante, Vondel and others, and from the Old Testament

Asko | Schoenberg
Reinbert de Leeuw, conductor
Claron McFadden, voice
Jeroen Willems, voice
Marcel Beekman, voice
Cristina Zavalloni, voice
Synergy Vocals
The Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Dianne Berkun, director

Carnegie Hall at 8:00 pm
57th Street & 7th Avenue
New York, NY
Tel: (1) 212 247 78 00

Headline image: Louis Andriessen
Photo: Emi Barendse

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