Sun 17 October 2021,
Festival de Donaueschingen

The Red Death

Donaueschingen Festival

In these times of pandemic, it is not surprising that Francesco Filidei has chosen Poe's The Mask of the Red Death and Dante's Purgatory as the inspiration for his new work: together with the author Hannah Dübgen, they have created a "Passion" that is both contemporary and timeless. In the story, a terrible epidemic, the "red death", decimates the country. To escape, the eccentric Prince Prospero confines himself and his courtiers to a walled abbey and leads a life of debauchery. Seven months later, isolation and fear - rendered palpable by oppressive electronics - fuel impatience and resentment. To calm his companions, Prospero imagines a purifying ritual: an imaginary journey through Purgatory - as described by Dante - will remind everyone of cardinal virtues and mortal sins. But nothing goes as planned and the evening ends with a grim surprise. Based on The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe


SWR chorus and orchestra
Sylvain Cambreling conductor
Patrick Hahn dramaturgy
Carlo Laurenzi Ircam Computer Music Design


Francesco FilideiThe Red Death, commissioned by the SWR and Ircam-Centre Pompidou – premiere 2021

  • Francesco Filidei  © Olivier Roller
    Francesco Filidei © Olivier Roller
  • SWR chorus and Orchestra  © Klaus Mellenthin
    SWR chorus and Orchestra © Klaus Mellenthin