Franco Zeffirelli once said that when the curtain comes up "you have to give the audience a big thing to look at."
The Italian filmmaker and opera director gave audiences plenty to look at — in his lavishly styled operas and his biblical and Shakespearean film adaptations.
Zeffirelli died Saturday in Rome after a long illness. His death was announced on the Foundation of Franco Zeffirelli website. He was 96.