Emperor Nero returns to Rome in a rock musical

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Part of the Domus Aurea site. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
16:00 CEST+02:00
A rock musical about Roman's most controversial emperor, Nero, will give new life to the place where he once lived.

Plans for the musical, Divo Nerone, were officially announced on Tuesday, and the show will premiere next year.

Telling the story of Emperor Nero's life, it will be performed in both Italian and English, starring 26 acrobats and 12 actors. 

The musical was written by Grammy Award-winning lyricist Franco Migliacci and is directed by Gino Landi.

Some parts of the rotating stage - based on Nero's own spectacular rotating banquet hall - have already been constructed, and interactive technology, projections and 3D sets will all help tell the story of Rome's most decadent emperor.

READ MORE: Mythbusting Ancient Rome - What was Emperor Nero really like?

The show's subtitle - 'the most fiery musical in history' - refers to the Great Fire of Rome, which burned for over five days in 64 AD, destroying or damaging ten of the city's 14 districts.

Some historians have suggested that Nero started the fire himself, while a popular myth states that he played the fiddle while the city burned; however, others argue that he wasn't in the city at the time, and contributed to the relief effort afterwards.

The stage will be in front of the Domus Aurea, a huge villa build by Nero between 64-68 AD in the space cleared by the fire and used to host his infamously decadent parties. The villa was closed to the public due to structural concerns in 2005. 

However, the superintendent for the archaeological area of Rome, Francesco Prosperetti, said on Tuesday that the usage fees paid by the theatre company, as well as three percent of ticket proceeds, will be used for the restoration of the Domus.

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Divo Nerone will be performed to audiences of 3,000 on a specially constructed stage on the Palatine Hill inside the historical Roman Forum from June 1st, 2017.

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