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The Burning Question | The Music Troupe

Wednesday February 15, 2023 at 21:00
King's Head Theatre, London
£10, £15, £20
Phone for tickets: 020 7226 8561
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. The Burning Question - Edward Lambert

A female pope? Dead? Holy smoke!

A new, short comic opera

Attended by a demonic manservant and an angelic maid, the first female Pope has died. She now wants nothing less than a cosy retirement in paradise, but Someone has other ideas and the elevator going upwards gets stuck. It's a Day of Wrath! What does St Peter, the Caretaker, know? Does he hold the key to the plot? Accompanied by piano duet and a choir of heavenly voices, this is a satire that confronts the ridiculous, the sublime, love, death and comic opera all at the same time.

Inspired by a real incident when, on 1st September 2019, the lift carrying Pope Francis to the Papal balcony got stuck and he had to be rescued by the Vatican firefighters, the opera veers between domestic comedy and high 'mythology' in a Dante-like story set in the afterlife. The choir's singing of the Dies Irae in the background contrasts with sardonic verses by the American writer Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) which become danced interludes during the Pope's journey towards the cleansing fire of Purgatory. While the music is contemporary but accessible, the work's ethos owes much to Italian opera buffa.

Wednesday 15 February,Thursday 16, Friday 17 at 9pm
Saturday 18 February at 4pm and 8pm

Composer Edward Lambert and colleagues founded The Music Troupe in 2013 to give performances of new bel canto operas that are designed for intimate spaces. Ed, who has a professional background in opera, has written 17 such works, seven of which have been performed at Tête-à-Tête: The Opera Festival, and one created during lockdown as a film. Some are new collaborations, others have been adaptations of works by Lorca, Pirandello and Wilde. With Norman Welch as writer, the company created Apollo's Mission in 2019 which celebrated the first moon landing. The company sees the future of opera as being small scale and approachable.

King's Head Theatre
115 Upper Street
N1 1QN

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