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The Burning Question
Musical + Opera

The Burning Question

A female pope? Dead? Holy smoke!

The Burning Question is a new comic opera featuring a female pope who passes into the afterlife.

She expected a cosy retirement in paradise but the elevator going upwards gets stuck. It's a Day of Wrath! Her demonic manservant & her angelic maid are at a loss to know what to do.

What does Peter the Caretaker know? Does he hold the key to the plot? Accompanied by piano duet & a choir of heavenly voices, this is a satire that confronts the ridiculous, the sublime, love, death & comic opera all at the same time.

The production is choreographed in the lively style of commedia dell’arte while the music owes much to Italian opera & is performed by a superb young cast.

'This marvellous evening's entertainment was a delicious & unexpected cocktail of frothy cappuccino & sparkling prosecco, spiked through with hot peperoncini – an absolute delight from start to finish' Planet Hugill

Praise from previous productions:

'Felt sumptuously melodic, as well as busily fresh, with strong, intensely written passages building to moments of euphoric surprise' Operissima

'Bite sized opera strikes gold...  This rich mix of interlocking characters bring their theatrical performances to an intense climax of pain & despair. There is much to commend this lively production' ★★★★ Remote Goat

'Intriguingly offered elements of bel canto vocal writing to vie with a more ‘modern’ idiom...' Boulezian

'A score whose eroticism was often visceral' The Guardian

'Became increasingly disturbing, & confirmed Lambert's effective text-setting' Opera Today)

'Always strongly directional & full of emotion' Newbury Weekly News

'This short opera succeeds in holding the attention of the audience due to its fast pace, stylish production... & Lambert's strikingly lively score' ★★★★ Planet Hugill


Words | Norman Welch & Edward Lambert, with additional material by Ambrose Bierce & the Latin Requiem Mass
Music | Edward Lambert
Direction & Design | Tabitha Benton-Evans
Revival Director & Movement | Jenny Weston
Production Company | The Music Troupe

Arianna | Louise Fuller (soprano)
The Pope | Arlene Belli (mezzo-soprano)
Ignacio | Harry Grigg (tenor)
San Pietro | Samuel Lom (bass)
Piano Duet | Elspeth Wilkes, Stephen Westrop

Ticket Price

£10 - £20


15 - 18 Feb


King's Head Theatre



Duration | 50 mins approx.
Peformance Times | 4.00pm, 8.00pm & 9.00pm
Age Guidance | Suitable for all ages (PG)
Content Warning | Satire on death & religion, mild adult themes.


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