In one of those moments that make you feel as though you might be in your very own version of The Truman Show, the radio played National Express by The Divine Comedy.
The band takes its name from Dante Alighieri’s epic work, which chronicles the 14th-century Italian poet’s imagined journey through hell and purgatory to eventually reach heaven.
Dante’s writing has had a huge cultural impact, inspiring everything from video games (Devil May Cry) and best-selling novels (Dan Brown’s Inferno) to iconic pop groups. While Neil Hannon’s collective has just marked its 30th birthday, events are taking place to commemorate 700 years since the original Dante passed away.
The Divine Comedy’s appearance on the airwaves coincided with my journey to the Royal Opera House to attend The Dante Project, a new ballet choreographed by Wayne McGregor, with a specially written score by Thomas Adès.
This was the third Adès premiere I have attended in just a few months, following the first performances of The Exterminating Angel Symphony by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Alchymia, a mesmerising clarinet quintet piece presented by Mark Simpson and the Quatuor Diotima at Kings Place Music Foundation.
Although Adès has had three operas staged at Covent Garden – Powder Her Face, The Tempest and The Exterminating Angel – The Dante Project is his first full-length ballet. Its structure mirrors that of The Divine Comedy, with three acts (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) loosely following the text.