© Martina Zanzani
Young Artists for Dante
Dante in Auschwitz
di Sergio Di Benedetto
Matteo Bonanni regia
Matteo Bonanni, Diego Becce attori
Roberta Di Matteo danzatrice
Luca Rapazzini violinista
Sergio Di Benedetto drammaturgia
in collaborazione con Società Dante Alighieri
Two great poems, Homer’s Odyssey and Dante’s Comedy, meet the tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah: all of them were brought together by Primo Levi in the eleventh chapter of If This Is A Man, entitled “The Canto of Ulysses”. This is where our Dante in Auschwitz begins.
In Levi’s novel, the protagonist-narrator found a moment of respite from the violence of the Lager when he tried to translate for his French fellow-prisoner, Pikolo, parts of the XXVI Canto of Dante’s Inferno, where Ulysses narrates his final journey. Here, poetry becomes the symbol for human dignity, a light in the dark that even Auschwitz could not extinguish. Because one thing is certain: every man, like Ulysses, has an intimate desire for knowledge, a desire to explore the unknown, the fear and intolerance of limits, his drive towards physical and mental travelling. Eighty years after the promulgation of Italian racial laws, this is meant to serve both as a memory, in the awareness “that this has happened” and must never happen again, and as a quiet celebration of the universal values of poetry and speech, which Dante’s genius superbly epitomizes. And when the sweet, melancholic tune of a violin and the gentle moves of a dancer meet words, it becomes clear that art can dam up evil.