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OPERA

Sofia Coppola to direct first opera in Rome

US director Sofia Coppola is teaming up with the British designer behind the Batman trilogy for a new production of the Italian opera "La Traviata", with costumes by fashion king Valentino.

Sofia Coppola to direct first opera in Rome
Sofia Coppola will direct her first opera in Rome. Photo: Jemal Countess/AFP

Coppola, who won an Academy award for “Lost in Translation”, is putting on her first opera with Giuseppe Verdi's romantic tragedy at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma from May 24th.
   
The 44-year-old daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola has joined forces with production designer Nathan Crowley, who was nominated for an Oscar for “The Dark Knight” as well as “Interstellar” and “The Prestige”.
   
Coppola was picked to direct the opera after showing “a particular aesthetic and musical sensibility, balanced between the classical and modern” in her historical film drama “Marie Antoinette”, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma said in a statement.
   
For fashion designer Valentino, who has dressed stars including Jennifer Lopez and Keira Knightley, making the costumes for Violetta, Traviata's main character, was “a dream come true”, the statement said.
   
Traviata, based on an 1848 novel by Alexandre Dumas, tells the story of a courtesan who is wooed by a young provincial bourgeois and persuaded to abandon her wild life, until her fiance's father attempts to break up the couple.
   
The Roman theatre has been attempting a revival after a series of damaging orchestra and chorus strikes over the past few years, fuelled by financial problems as Italy suffered its deepest recession since World War II.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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