Forced to choose between love and political duties, a king is led to make a fatal decision. It plunges his country into civil war and leads his wife and son to turn against him. In turn, the son will, to restore peace, perform a terrifying act in front of his mother. British composer George Benjamin’s previous opera - Written on skin, has already received critical and public success. His ability to capture the times without falling into an obsession with fashion, his sense of theatre and prosody associated with a taste of the English language have pushed him to the top of contemporary lyric composers; and drawn comparisons with Benjamin Britten. Teamed with his usual partner, author Martin Crimp, and the sensual and disturbing stage visions of director Katie Mitchell, they lead a shock team that completes an exceptional cast "led" by Stéphane Degout, trained at the lyric workshop of the Opéra de Lyon.