Opera in one act
plot of the opera
Rome, July of 64 A.D.
(This point and
time of history is particularly intriguing, because of the mixture of Greek,
Roman and Jewish religions and culture, which are all present at the same time,
with a strong effect on the people. The wonders of Egypt shine at the south, and there is also a strong Christian influence
this is the era of apostles Peter and Paul, who have preached the gospel and
died in Rome. It is the climax
of the prosecution of Christians, carried out on order of the Caesar)
of our story: Nero the current Caesar; Akte, his lover from Greece who had
converted to Christianity in Rome; Renisenb, friend of Akte, an enslaved
Egyptian girl; Petronius and Veturia, a Christian couple accompanying Akte;
Simeon, a fleeing Jewish merchant; Epaphroditus, captain of the persecuting
soldiers; and Marcus, a soldier of Rome.
have orders to hunt down Nero, Akte, Renisenb, Christians and Jews. With the
burning of Rome, Neros reign
is nearing an end.
abandoned shed in the outer bounds of Rome, at night.
Simeon is the
first to arrive to the shed. He looks around warily, and finds himself a safe
sleeping place in the hayloft. After praying to the God of Jews and confessing
his ill-gotten riches, he rests down. Later, Akte arrives with Petronius and
Veturia, having found the shed on the flight, too. Akte is tormented by love
for her lover and for her country. She has met Lucius in Corinth, and followed her gladly to Rome, where she was shocked to realise her
sweetheart is actually the murderous despot, Nero. Akte had escaped from the
palace and found refuge among Christians. Petronius and Veturia watch over her
journey, helping her get back to her motherland.
Petronius is a
Roman citizen who has taken up Christianity as a true belief, devoted to the
religion in heart and soul. Veturia, his wife is only following him blindly,
without faith, and she is overtly jealous of Akte. Together they whisper their
prayers to Jesus, under the protection of the dark night.
Nero, now a fugitive, arrives to the shed.
The Caesar has lost all his powers, and in a last delusion of grandeur he
admits putting fire to the city, while blaming it on the Christians. His tender
feelings for Akte have disappeared. The drama escalates when Renisenb arrives,
having escaped from her master to look for her friend, Akte. Her presence
brings the vivid world of Egyptian culture and religion into the dark reality
of the shed.
When the soldiers, lead by Epaphroditus
find the group in hiding, the carnage begins. Nero is the first to die by the
sword of the captain infuriated by the burning of Rome. Akte takes her love in her arms. Renisenb is killed as a runaway slave,
Simeon has to die because of his Jewish religion. Akte is killed as the lover
of Nero, Petronius and Veturia die because they are Christians. In the frenzy
of the massacre, Marcus, the young Roman soldier tries to stop his captain and
put an end to the killing, but he fails. The Egyptian, Jewish, Greek, Roman and
Christian prayers ascends to heaven like the united voice of one holy choir,
calling out to Osiris, Jahve, Aphrodite, Juno, Jupiter and Jesus as to one
universal God. Agni, the ancient fire-god takes possession of the shed, theres
only one spectator left to judge the slaughter of the innocent, the tyranny of
the almighty Caesar and the fervour of the soldiers: the eternal survivors, the
© Ars et Sanitas