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The year is 1990, and the Warwick Opera Guild is preparing a new production of Maestoso's well-known opera, E Pericoloso Sporgersi. The Patrons' Dinner is held in the banquet room of the Opera House two weeks before the opening of the new season: and you, the patrons, are looking forward to hearing excerpts from the opera presented by the soloists during the dinner, as is the custom.
But all is not well in the company. Since the eminent director fell ill and had to be replaced, an uneasy spirit has pervaded the production, mostly seeming to stem from the tenor lead, whose long-standing box-office appeal is as essential to the financial success of the enterprise as his disruptive behaviour is troubling to its stability. And as the evening progresses, the trouble approaches a critical point.