Robin Lee-Navrozov

Is this the new Berlusconi?

Rome. A summer evening at the Colosseum. Snarling traffic and noisy crowds can be heard, but inside the arena the air is cool and still. On the dais, here to formally inaugurate the site’s restoration, which he is funding with a €25 million donation, is Diego Della Valle, ‘the shoemaker’, as the snooty Romans call him.

Zeffirelli: the Maestro of excess

The opening of the season at La Scala in Milan on 7 December is always a grand affair, and this year will be no exception. Franco Zeffirelli, 83 years old, is directing a new production of Aida, a work that has not been staged at this theatre for more than 20 years. It is noon