di Francesco Musolino
Rome, October 18 - A rock musical on Nero, ancient Rome's most controversial and passionate emperor, will be held the place where his excesses first emerged and history was made. 'Divo Nerone' is a colossal musical that was the brainchild of Grammy Award-winning lyricist Franco Migliacci and brings together Oscar winners Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo, Gabriella Pescucci and Luis Bacalov under the direction of Gino Landi. Produced by Associati and Partners, the musical will debut on June 1 on a 36-meter-long stage set up in Vigna Barberini on the Palatine Hill inside the Roman Forum and overlooking the Colosseum, in front of the Domus Aurea and a few meters from the area where the remains were found of what is thought to have been the Coenatio Rotunda. Domus Aurea, built by Nero (37-68 AD) soon after the great fire in Rome in 64 AD, was closed in 2005 after masonry fell from flaking walls and a high level of dangerous seepage was detected. The top of the Domus on the Colle Oppio (Oppian Hill) is covered with parks, trees and roads whose weight and pollution are a constant threat. The golden palace of the ill-famed Nero first re-opened in June 1999 after 21 years in which it was Rome's best-kept secret. According to Roman historian Suetonius, within Nero had surprised his guests by having marble panels slide back to shower guests with petals and perfume. When the Domus was completed, it actually stretched for 50 hectares and covered most of the neighboring Palatine and Celian hills as well. Nero was reputed to have remarked that finally he was beginning to be "housed like a human being". After Nero's suicide in 68 AD the Flavian emperors who succeeded him proceeded to bury all trace of his legacy. The superintendent for the archaeological area of Rome, Francesco Prosperetti, said that "in addition to usage fees, which are over 100,000 euros and normally paid by Teatro dell'Opera di Roma at Caracalla, the superintendent's office will receive 3% of ticket proceeds, which will go towards restoration of the Domus and the Coenatio". With the face of Giorgio Adamo, scenic and 3D effects with the help of the National Research Council (CNR), the musical will be in Italian and English and has a cast of 26 dancer-acrobats and 12 singer-actors that will be telling the story of the last 14 years of the tyrant's life. Historical characters such as Agrippina, Poppaea Sabina, Seneca, Petronius and Lucan will all appear in the musical.