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Bad Dante Bad English Bad Opera 

(Purgatorio I-IX)

by Spreafico Eckly & Matteo Fargion

Date of creation: 2022

Direction: Andrea Spreafico

Music: Matteo Fargion

Lyrics/Translation : Andrea Spreafico (based on Dante, Purgatorio, I-IX)

With: Francesca Fargion, Matteo Fargion, Robert M. Johanson, Martha McBean

String trio: Björn Guo, Live Sunniva Smidt, Stefan Penjic

Lighting and stage Design: Randiane Sandboe

Stage Manager: Monica Herberg Santos

Production: Spreafico Eckly, Art and about

Co-Production:  BIT Teatergarasjen, Rosendal Teater , Carte Blanche.

Supported by: Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lys og Bilde, Fritt Ord, Bergen Kommune

Bad Dante Bad English Bad Opera is a new translation of Dante’s Purgatory in to anti-academic, down to earth, English. Devised as a chamber opera by Andrea Spreafico and Matteo Fargion, the work presents a wholly new way of hearing Dante’s work. 


With four performers accompanied by a string trio, Bad Dante Bad English Bad Opera centres the action and human emotion of Ante-Purgatory (the first 9 cantos of Dante’s work), and presents a refreshingly vivid account of this poem, whose commentary on the human experience of limbo and nostalgia for real life, and critique of dysfunctional nation states and angry society feels all the more relevant in 2021. 

Dante’s The Divine Comedy was the first book to be written in the Italian vernacular language – the spoken language – and here that language is refreshed through the paraphrasing and original translation of Spreafico, speaking the English of non-English people. 

The work is clever, but has humour – and whilst providing the perfect counterpoint to more heavy Dante celebrations, its exploration of imperfection, justification, tolerance and confusion is perfectly suited to the modern world. 

“A minimalist chamber opera that plays with text, nuances and humor.”

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