NPR

Atop Ancient Ruins, A Rock Opera About Emperor Nero Leaves Some Romans Unimpressed

A new musical seeks to present a different side of the emperor, known best for fiddling while Rome burned. But some historians object to what they see as the commercialization of Roman heritage.
The rock opera offers a fresh take on the story of Nero, one of history's most nefarious emperors. "His target was to give to the Romans, to the poor people, bread, games, entertainment," says artistic director Ernesto Migliacci. "He tried to make a real cultural revolution." Source: Sylvia Poggioli

Nearly 2,000 years after he held sway over ancient Rome, a notorious emperor is again causing outrage. The reason: Italian authorities approved construction of a massive stage amid the ruins over the Roman Forum for a rock opera about Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 A.D.

Archaeologists and art historians are up in arms, denouncing what they see as the commercialization of

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR6 min read
Do Your Wurst. Food Pun Haters, The Yolk's On You
If you relish puns, then you'll love a new game that gives you two food-themed topics to blend into one deliciously bad joke. The food pun is so beloved, there's even one in the story of Adam and Eve.
NPR2 min read
Poems For Billie Holiday And Bessie Smith From The Blair House Collective
Poets Ciona Rouse, Caroline Randall Williams and Adia Victoria are the Blair House Collective. These poems honor two of the "living, breathing, earthbound women" who inspire the Collective's work.
NPR4 min readPolitics
March For Our Lives, No Longer Protesting In Streets, Unveils Gun Control Plan
The group says its plan could prevent 200,000 gun deaths over 10 years. It calls for creating a national registry and starting a buyback program and creating a national gun czar.