Last night marked the New York concert premiere of Louis Andriessen
’s La Commedia, the Dutch composer’s 2008 “film opera” of five sections based on Dante’s epic poem, at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The Asko | Schoenberg ensemble, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, powered through Andriessen’s kinetic, textured score — injected with long stretches of jazz and big-band rhythms and even some driving “hard rock” riffs. Synergy Vocals and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus provided a strong choral foundation, engaging with the characters of “The Divine Comedy
” as they journeyed from the City of Dis to Paradiso, covering a libretto in four different languages (English, Dutch, Latin, Italian) along the way.
Cristina Zavalloni sang the role of Dante, whipping her long, thin body about the stage. Also trained as a jazz singer, Zavalloni was singing a part composed especially for her; she’ll next star in Andriessen’s opera about Anais Nin,