This opera was commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera. It takes place in three separate planes of existence and centers on historical figures of late 18th-century France. In one plane, the ghosts of the writer Pierre Beaumarchais and Queen Antoinette fall in love. The queen is upset about her execution and Beaumarchais tries to cheer her up by writing a play for her. The stage for the play is the second plane of existence, and the third plane is the one occupied by real historical figures and events.