The skilful pen of Franco Migliacci lies behind a great number of Italian musical hits - “Tintarella di luna”, “Fatti mandare dalla mamma a prendere il latte”, “In ginocchio da te”, “C'era un ragazzo che come me amava i Beatles e i Rolling Stones”, “La bambola” and “Ma che freddo fa” are just a few of the famous songs that Migliacci has written.
The best known of all, however, and the song that will be forever associated with Migliacci, has to be "Nel blu dipinto di blu", which marked the beginning of his collaboration with Domenico Modugno and earned him two Grammy Awards. Since its release, "Volare" (as it will be known to people all over the world for years to come) revolutionised Italian pop music, becoming one of the best-selling, most widely-known songs of all time.
"The idea of making Nerone has always been in the back of my mind. My father was a Marshal in the Guardia di Finanza (Italian Finance Police), and was very clever man, but stern and domineering, like Nero's mother. As Agrippina said to Nero, "What are you doing with that lyre? Throw it away, one day you’ll be another type of man altogether!", my father said to me "What are you doing with those drawings? Throw them away and study accounting, you must get a job in a bank". But I couldn’t do it – dealing with numbers made me lose my marbles! I was struggling so much that one day I managed to escape. I finally understood that my father was Agrippina, and that I felt like Nero. Almost all the books I have read about him say that he wasn’t mad, but simply misunderstood, and it is true that in all his years as emperor no war ever broke out - indeed, he was shrewd and well-loved. Nero became my point of reference, and I felt healed ".
As director and choreographer of some of Italy’s biggest musicals, Landi has also worked in film and television, going on to become one of the most famous directors and choreographers in the world of national and international theatre and television, working with Federico Fellini, Nino Rota, Tonino Guerra and Ennio Flaiano.
He has directed countless television shows, including a number of editions of the Sanremo Festival, Festivalbar and Canzonissima. Landi then took his first steps into the world of theatre, and was entrusted with the role of director and choreographer of numerous shows, including "Rugantino" and "Vacanze Romane” (Roman Holiday).
In 1969, he entered into an important partnership with Garinei and Giovannini which lasted nearly forty years, creating dance pieces for all of their shows.
"The main reason for my decision to become involved in this musical is simply that I loved everything about the concept. Here, I come to work, and I find myself in the most extraordinary place in the history of all time, the Domus Aurea - a wonderful site which is just teeming with history, and which was the beating heart of the largest empire that has ever existed. These floors have been trodden by the most powerful dynasty of warriors and emperors ever to live, who made Rome the centre of the world. Channelling all of this into a rock opera will be the biggest challenge of my career."
This three-time Oscar winner has worked with Fellini, Scorsese, Pasolini, Burton and a number of the greatest directors on the Italian and international scene – Italian production designer Dante Ferretti is admired by everyone. A vocal proponent of the ‘extraordinary’ aesthetic, his works move between different historical periods with a freedom that sometimes strays into transgression, revolutionising the world of film set design.
“Il nome della rosa” (1986) (The Name of the Rose), “Le avventure del barone di Münchausen” (1989) (The Adventures of Baron Münchausen) and “Casino” (1995) are just some of the gems that are dotted through his stellar career, during the course of which he has won the world’s leading film award not one but three times. Ferretti took home the coveted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences statuette in 2005 (for "The Aviator" by Martin Scorsese), in 2008 (for "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" by Tim Burton) and in 2012 (for "Hugo Cabret" by Martin Scorsese).
In 2013, to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of his birth, the MoMA in New York dedicated an exhibit solely to his works, entitled "Dante Ferretti. Design and construction for cinema".
"I was hooked right away by this great adventure, and I put my experience to use in order to help to create an opera which will be set in one of the most amazing locations in the world. The process will require a major commitment, and my challenge will be to incorporate all those things that have existed for two millennia into my set. A mixture of evocative images, which conjure the history of Rome. "
As a set decorator of international renown, Francesca Lo Schiavo has conquered Hollywood with her staging. Nominated for an Oscar a total of six times, she won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction for "The Aviator" by Martin Scorsese in 2005, for "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" by Tim Burton in 2008 and for "Hugo Cabret", again directed by Martin Scorsese, in 2012.
"As a native of Rome, this is an exceptional chance for me to be part of this musical, set in the midst of the eternal beauty of the city: it’s such a unique and exciting opportunity.
As always, the aim will be to surprise the audience, and in this instance, to maintain a link with the historical reality of this incredibly opulent era. We will throw ourselves into this fantastic adventure with great enthusiasm, reconstructing the site from which the most controversial and talked-about emperor of all time reigned over his people."
Gabriella Pescucci has worked with greats such as Martin Scorsese and Sergio Leone, reconstructing the sense of an era in incredible detail from meticulous documentation, while for visionary geniuses such as Federico Fellini and Terry Gilliam, she has succeeded in giving shape to fantastic, dreamlike worlds, drawing inspiration from figurative art.
In 1989, she won an Oscar nomination for her work on “Le avventure del barone di Münchausen” (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) by Gilliam, before finally winning the award in 1994 for “L’età dell’innocenza” (The Age of Innocence) by Martin Scorsese. Over the years, she has also collected a total of 4 Nastri d’Argento awards and two David di Donatello awards, working on films including “La città delle donne” (City of Women) by Fellini (1980) and “Il nome della rosa” (The Name of the Rose) by Jean-Jacques Annaud (1986).
"Nero might not have been a star, but he had an ego as big as a skyscraper. The story that has reached us, through all those centuries, is fragmented, made up of incomplete accounts and episodes, not all of which actually happened, and in reality, he was a great emperor, beloved by the people and by his subjects. In recent years, historians have redeemed Nero’s image somewhat, lifting the blame for the great fire that devastated Rome in 64 from his shoulders. Nero remains a very difficult character to understand, partly because in those days, power was infinite and so was the fear of losing it. I will attempt, through my work, to convey the madness and genius of this extraordinary moment in history." .
Winner of an Oscar in 1994 for the soundtrack of the film "Il Postino" (The Postman) with Massimo Troisi, Bacalov, an Argentine pianist and composer, is behind some of the most unforgettable moments in the history of world cinema and international music.
A classically-trained musician and connoisseur of jazz, tango and the folk traditions of South America, in Italy he is also known as an arranger of hit songs. He made his break in cinema composing soundtracks for films by some of Italy’s leading directors, from Damiani (La Noia, or The Empty Canvas, 1963 and Quien sabe? or A Bullet for the General, 1966) to Petri (A ciascuno il suo or We Still Kill the Old Way, 1967), Pasolini (Il Vangelo secondo Matteo or The Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1964), Fellini (La città delle donne or City of Women, 1980) and Rosi (La tregua or The Truce, 1997).
"In 1962, as fate would have it, Franco [Migliacci] and I were writing together (for the first time) for a young talent at the beginning of his career named Gianni Morandi. Then, as now, when Franco told me about the Nero idea, I got this inexplicable feeling, a natural sense of inspiration, that has since become music."
Ernesto Migliacci was a founding member and A&R director at Dueffel Music, where he was in charge of scouting, artistic production and live art direction. As one of the most prominent labels producing emerging artists, Dueffel Music has a finger in every pie, from music publishing to artistic and executive production, management and content and event production. Migliacci composes and writes for a range of TV programmes broadcast by Rai, Radio Uno /Due and Mediaset, and has written and collaborated with a number of leading artists, including Gianni Morandi, Simone Cristicchi, Max Gazzè, Mogol, Audio 2, Lorella Cuccarini, Antonella Clerici and Ambra Angiolini, among others ... "
"Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, better known as Nero, was a passionate artist who cultivated a great dream - to change the world through music, art and poetry. The show will reveal the positive sides of his character, as well as the darker aspects of one of the most widely-discussed and controversial personalities in history. Genius and madness combine, in a great musical that is worthy of Rome’s most visionary Emperor.".
Sellati began his studies in classical dance, jazz and modern jazz at the age of 14 at the school of Stefano Sellati, under the guidance of key names from the international dance scene including V. Litvinof, Tucci Rigano, Renato Greco, A. Venditti and A. Silvestre. He studied jazz and contemporary dance at the "Pineapple School" in London and at the "Steps School" in New York with Michèle Assaf, Rui Horta, Denise Webb and Debbie Allen.
In 1980 he began his career as a professional dancer in the musical “La vita comincia ogni mattina” by Garinei and Giovannini with Gino Bramieri, under the guidance of Gino Landi, who became his mentor, and who was set to remain by his side as his career progressed for a total of 25 years. In theatre and television, he worked with the likes of Pippo Baudo, Lorella Cuccarini, Ether Parisi, Massimo Ranieri, Amy Stewart, Enrico Montesano and Serena Autieri. He took part in a host of RAI and Mediaset programs (Buona Domenica, Fantastico, Per tutta la vita with Fabrizio Frizzi, Trasmissione Forzata on Rai 3 with Dario Fò, Noi con le ali, directed and choreographed by Gino Landi) and in theatre performances alongside Pietro Garinei, Donald Saddler, Massimo Ranieri and of course Gino Landi.
His passion for dance naturally led into a love of choreography, which saw him contribute to the staging of musicals such as "Roma Caput Mundi", "I Promessi Sposi" (The Betrothed) and "Il Mago di Oz" (The Wizard of Oz), and now, "Divo Nerone - Opera rock".
"One morning I received a phone call from Ernesto Migliacci, who told me about this project. I fell in love with it from the start, and along with everyone else involved, I’ve watched it grow. I feel fortunate to be part of this event, because "Divo Nerone" is set to make history: for the first time, some of the most prestigious names on the Italian arts scene have come together, to create this amazing show."
Born in 1961, Giovanni Bedeschi graduated from the Beato Angelico Institute of Art in Milan. In 1980, he began his career in advertising, working for agencies including Ata, Bates and McCann. In 1991, he was appointed associate creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and directed his first advert for Neutro Roberts, which was chosen that year by Paul Arden for the New Talent Showcase at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. In 1992, he began his career as a director, first at NPA and then with New Partner, before gaining further experience at BBE Politecne. In 1996 he began working as a freelancer, directing a number of adverts for various leading Italian and international brands (Bayer, Barilla, Breil, Sector, Tissot and many others). During this period, he also directed several music videos for the likes of Jovanotti, Francesco Baccini and Raf.
In April 2002, he founded the production company Bedeschifilm, which won the Italian Targa d’Oro award for the advert created for the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006, along with the Art Directors Club prize and the Key Award. In the United States, he was presented with the prestigious Addy Award for Corona Beer. In Milan, Bedeschi works as lecturer of film direction at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, and teaches creative advertising at the Accademia di Comunicazione (Communications Academy) in Milan.
“I truly think that this musical has come into being in the most fantastic, wonderful way possible - it is being staged in the very place that Nero actually lived. I directed the trailer, and as such, I found myself shooting with the star of the show at this totally unique place - there’s nowhere else like it on earth. It is as if Nero has come back to life, focusing the world’s attention on him, on his actions, and above all on his emotions once again."