CULTURE

Benigni booked to stage Dante

Roberto Benigni, the Italian actor and director who won us over in 1997 with his powerful performance as Guido in the Oscar-winning «Life is Beautiful,» is now launching a different project. With a performance titled «Inferno e Paradiso» (Hell and Heaven), he is taking Dante’s landmark poem «The Divine Comedy» on an international tour that will include two stops at the Athens Concert Hall on May 5 and 6. For those interested, tickets are already available. In his «Divine Comedy,» Dante describes an imaginary journey into the underworld, narrated in the first person, which starts on Good Friday in 1300. The use of detail makes the journey incredibly realistic – the hours and locations are recorded with mathematical precision. During his passing through Hell and Purgatory, the poet is accompanied by his teacher Virgil. His crossing of Heaven happens in the presence of Beatrice, a character who represents the female ideal, according to Dante, and who is probably based on Beatrice Portinari, a real person he was associated with. Benigni is expected to make lots of reversals. The only thing known so far is that for his Athens performances, he has chosen the 5th Canto of «The Divine Comedy,» which deals with the concept of love. Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.