Review: LA Phil premiere of Adès’s “Inferno” ballet

Posted on: May 15, 2019

“The full maturity of Thomas Adès is blooming before our very eyes and ears,” writes Richard S. Ginell in Monday’s (5/13) San Francisco Classical Voice. “Through yet another Los Angeles Philharmonic centenary year commission, add Adès’s new ballet Inferno to the list of triumphs.” The premiere on May 10 at Disney Concert Hall, led by Gustavo Dudamel, without dancers, “turned out to be bigger, certainly in size, than the LA Phil perhaps thought it would be [evolving] into the first part of an evening-length ballet … 45 minutes in length…. With Dante’s Inferno as a framework and Liszt providing devilish inspiration, though not actual language, Adès’s opening sounded like Hell right away—the cracks of a whip, wallops of brass, and shrieking of winds making a loud collective noise. But then, the ballet started to take shape depicting various Dantesque residents and scenes in 13 continuously-played episodes…. In the penultimate episode titled ‘The Thieves,’ a great madcap orchestral galop charged away [setting] off a spontaneous outburst of applause even though there was one segment left to go.… L.A. will get another crack at it when Adès leads the LA Phil in the pit in a full Royal Ballet/Company Wayne McGregor production of Inferno July 12–13.”

Posted May 15, 2019