Three-time Oscar winner Dante Ferretti, who has overseen the art direction on such acclaimed films as Hugo, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and The Aviator, is staging an outdoor rock opera in the Roman Forum in Rome, according to Variety. The news site reports that the production designer is teaming with other high-profile Italian artists to stage the new work, titled Divo Nerone, about the city's famed ancient ruler, Emperor Nero.
Also attached to the project are Oscar-winning set designer Francesca Lo Schiavo; Oscar-winning costume designer Gabriella Pescucci; Grammy-winning lyricist Franco Migliacci, who has penned the opera; Oscar-winning composer Luis Bacalov; and director and choreographer Gino Landi.
Divo Nerone will reportedly be staged in an open-air venue situated directly above the underground ruins of Nero’s Domus Aurea, which was built by the Emperor following the historic fire of A.D. 64. Part of the real Colosseum will be integrated into the show’s scenery, which will be used with special effects and smoke, to depict the city catching fire.
“The audience will be able to see a live representation of ancient Rome catching fire, with a realistic representation of the real setting of the time,” producer Cristian Casella told Variety. Jacopo Capanna is also producing.
According to the producers, the opera will portray Nero as an artist who never really wanted to be an emperor. It will feature 28 scene changes and 36 musical numbers.