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

NPR3 min readPolitics
Mulvaney Walks Back Ukraine Remarks, Admits It Wasn't A 'Perfect Press Conference'
The acting White House chief of staff denied what he previously said: that defense funding to Ukraine was frozen in part over the demand that Kyiv dig up dirt on Trump's political rivals.
NPR4 min readPolitics
Justin Trudeau Battles For His Political Survival As Canada Gets Ready To Vote
Stung by a series of recent scandals, the prime minister is locked in a virtual tie with Andrew Scheer of the opposition Conservative Party ahead of Monday's election.
NPR2 min read
Jovino Santos Neto Trio: Tiny Desk Concert
Along with his trio, the pianist, multi-instrumentalist and composer cast a spell over the NPR Music offices in this joyful turn behind the Tiny Desk.