'A sizzling, cracking whip of a piece' LA Times

Instrumentation

3(III=picc).3(III=ca).3(I in Bb+A, II in A, III in A=bcl).3(III=cbsn) – 4331 – timp(=rototom[s]) – perc(3): glsp/t.bells/tgl/sleigh bells/clash.cyms/susp.cym/anvil/tam-t/whip/rattle(ratchet)/cast/washboard/wooden spatulas (2 pairs – thin)/tamb/2 SD/2 TD (with snares)/BD and mounted clash.cym(s) ('machine')/concert BD – harp – piano – strings (recommended 12.10.8.8.6)

Availability

Score and parts in preparation

Programme Notes

Inferno (from Dante’s Divine Comedy) is the first part of a ballet which has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic to mark its centenary year.  The project developed into a full evening commission, the second part of which will be played in 2020.  The commission was an open-ended proposal from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the idea of turning this into a ballet came later.  With Wayne McGregor on board, the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, supported the idea and it is therefore in London that the full evening featuring Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise will be staged in May 2020.
The music of this ballet is a grateful tribute to Franz Liszt, the composer of Hell and demonic music.  The score plays continuously.
 
Abandon Hope
- the gateway to Hell. 
 
II
The Selfish
- who run with banners, stung by wasps. 
 
III
The Ferryman
- who rows dead souls across the river Styx. 
 
IV
Pavan of the Souls in Limbo 
 
V
Paolo and Francesca
- the adulterers: the endless whirlwind.
 
VI
The Gluttons
- in slime. 
 
VII
The Suicides
- bleeding trees, mauled by harpies. 
 
VIII
The Deviants
- crawling across burning sand. 
 
IX
The Fortune-tellers
(flatterers and critics) - walking in two directions, their heads bent back, tears running down between their buttocks
 
 
X
The Popes
(the politically ambitious) - stuffed head first down a hole, one on top of the other.
 
XI
The Hypocrites
- weighed down by coats of lead. 
 
XII
The Thieves
- who transform endlessly into giant lizards and back again into thieves. 
 
XIII
Satan
- in the frozen lake. Dante and Virgil climb out of Hell and see the stars. 
 

Reviews

'The ballet score begs spectacle. It begs color. It begs humor and surrealism and irreverence, a dollop of wackiness even.'
LA Times (Mark Swed), 14 July 2019
 
'Adès’s brilliantly orchestrated score dances lightly in 3/4 time, sludges through the underworld muck, rustles ominously, builds to explosions, and further develops a lyrical bent that has only come to the fore in his music since The Tempest'
San Francisco Classical Voice (Richard S. Ginell), 13 May 2019

Inferno

***POSTPONED***

Royal Opera House (London, United Kingdom)

The Royal Ballet, Koen Kessels

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Inferno

***POSTPONED***

Royal Opera House (London, United Kingdom)

The Royal Ballet, Koen Kessels

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Inferno

***CANCELLED***

Het Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Thomas Adès

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Inferno

***CANCELLED***

Het Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Thomas Adès

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Inferno

concert performance

Seiji Ozawa Hall (Lenox, MA, USA)

Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, Thomas Adès