Rock Opera Stars Roman Emperor Nero

Did Roman emperor Nero get a bad rap? “Divo Nerone,” a rock opera with international ambitions being staged in the real Roman Forum by multiple Oscar-winning production designer Dante Ferretti and other Italo heavyweights is out to prove Rome’s ancient ruler known for cruel deeds wasn’t such a bad guy after all. Ferretti (“The Aviator,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Hugo”), along with Francesca Lo Schiavo, who is his wife and working partner, and prominent Italo costume designer Gabriella Pescucci – Oscar-winner for “The Age of Innocence” – have all been recruited on this high-profile project which is penned by Grammy-Award-winning Italo lyricist Franco Migliacci (“Volare,” “Django Theme Song”). Interestingly, production of “Divo Nerone” is being set up in an open-air venue atop the Palatine Hill situated directly above the underground ruins of Nero’s sumptuous residence, the Domus Aurea, which the emperor had built over the famous fire that destroyed much of Rome in A.D. 64.

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