It's Guiseppe Verdi's Nabucco, and it's based on a Biblical battle of epic proportions. While the story was written more than 150 years ago, it still has relevance today.
Nabucco is a Babylonian King who unleashes a reign of terror on the Jews.
"Ruthless, powerful character you could call him a war criminal almost," said Sebastian Catana, 'Nabucco'.
Zaccaria is the high priest of the Hebrews who rallies his people to annihilate their oppressors and blurs the lines of good and evil….hero and villain.
Thaddeus Strassberger, Stage director and scene designer, Nabuccco said, "There are atrocities, there's women and children and religious and non-religious people and everybody is sort of caught in the cross fire.
"Good and bad is basically from the perception of the participant everyone believes in their cause and everyone believes they're on the right side of the fence so to speak," added Morris Robinson, 'Zaccaria,' Nabucco.
Nabucco was written in 1842…when Verdi was just 28 years old. It was the opera that launched his career as a composer and it was inspired by the Austrian invasion of northern Italy.
For the production, the Academy of Music will be transported back in time to 1840s Milan, with people in period costumes sitting in the audience.
"It's not something you come and experience as a passive audience member. I think it's much more exciting for the performers when they are taking the energy from the audience and not only sort of letting it spill over the footlight." said Strassberger.
Nabucco opens next Friday and will then broadcast free on Independence Mall next Saturday, the 28th
For tickets and times, go to The Arts in Philadelphia.