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Sketch of Prime Minister "Olof"

Royals Cancel Visit to Assasination Opera

Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia have dropped plans to attend next month’s premier of a modernized version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “A Masked Ball”, reportedly after learning that it alludes to the 1986 murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Verdi’s original work was inspired by the assassination of Sweden’s King Gustav III at a masquerade ball in 1792. But in the new version the king is replaced with a prime minister, and the name “Olof” is sung on two occasions.

The royal family cancelled their plan to attend the February 11 opening at the Malmö opera house after talking with the slain prime minister’s son Mårten Palme, who suggested it was in bad taste to stage the opera so close to the 20th anniversary of the murder.

Olof Palme was gunned down on a Stockholm street on February 28, 1986, as he and his wife walked home unguarded from a movie theater, just a few blocks from where Gustav III was killed two centuries earlier.

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