"...among the most fantastical and kaleidoscopic orchestral works of our time..." NPR

The world premiere recording of Thomas Adès’ ballet score Dante (2019-2020) from Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the LA Master Chorale was released through Nonesuch on 21 April. It is available to stream here.

Dudamel gave the US premiere of Dante last year. His recording with the LA Philharmonic debuted at #1 on the UK’s Specialist Classical Album chart, has been featured as BBC Radio 3 Record of the Week, in the Times’ 100 Best Pieces of Classical Music, as Presto Classical Recording of the Week, and lauded by a host of critics.

Adès’ three-part score debuted as part of The Dante Project at the Royal Opera House in 2021, the ballet is choreographed by Wayne McGregor and designed by Tacita Dean. It follows The Divine Comedy’s journey into hell (Inferno), across the sea of purgatory (Purgatorio) and into the heavens (Paradiso). Adès’ kaleidoscopic music draws on Liszt, Syrian-Jewish cantor music, and in its final part, Gustave Doré’s engravings for Dante’s poem.


Dante is available as a digital download or on CD here. It has also been released as a collectable two-LP vinyl that includes artwork by Tacita Dean and photography from the Royal Ballet’s performance. A limited-edition photogravure print by Tacita Dean, based on her designs for the mountainous backdrop of Inferno, is available through the Marian Goodman Gallery as part of another special vinyl release of Dante, presented in a beautiful custom-made box – details here.


The recording of the acclaimed score appeared alongside a sold-out run of The Dante Project at Paris’ Palais Garnier in April and May, produced by the Opéra National de Paris, with the composer and Courtney Lewis conducting. The Dante Project will return to The Royal Ballet in London in November 2023, conducted by Jonathan Lo. The ballet receives its Danish premiere the same month in Copenhagen from the Royal Danish Ballet at the Kongelige Teater, conducted by Robert Houssart.


… revelling in the composer’s lurid musical imagination, bursting with colour and wit and incident, and hellish visions of the underworld. Cinematic in its breadth and ambition.

BBC Radio 3, Record Review, 22 April 2023


“Released from the confines of a theatre pit, Adès’s score becomes an orchestral spectacular, captured on the wing in live performances and splendidly recorded.”

Financial Times (Richard Fairman), 20 April 2023


[Dante], in its debut recording by the Los Angeles Philharmonic with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, ranks among the most fantastical and kaleidoscopic orchestral works of our time.

NPR (Tom Huizenga), 21 April 2023


In any new shortlist of great ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Bartók, Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten, and Bernstein, Dante must newly be included for its musical invention alone. There is not a second in its 88 minutes that doesn’t delight. All of it is unexpected and wanted.

LA Times (Mark Swed) 4 May 2022


A dizzying homage to Liszt, synagogue music, and the enchantingly upward infinity of the cosmos. Conceived as a ballet score, [Dante] belongs alongside the great dance music of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky that thrives on the concert stage.

New York Times, ‘Best Classical Performances of 2022’, 1 December 2022


Adès takes this legacy and develops it further; in the opening ‘Inferno’, the aggressive piano part in ‘The Suicides’ is virtuosic and harrowing; the rumbustious ‘The Thieves’ canters along mischievously…Adès peels away some of the orchestral layers to reveal recorded voices from the congregation at the Great Ades Synagogue in Jerusalem, whose prayers imaginatively represent the lost souls in purgatory. These are embellished with textural colour that brightens with ‘The Earthly Paradise’; a sinewy, sparkling melodic thread hints at the later ascending theme.

BBC Music Magazine (Claire Jackson), 16 May 2023


The three parts that make up Adès’ ballet score have received numerous performances as standalone concert works. In March Paradiso was performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, with the composer conducting, alongside the 18½-minute Inferno Suite. The first part of the ballet has also been performed complete by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2021, with Adès conducting; the composer returns to Helsinki in March 2024 to conduct Purgatorio and Paradiso.