386, ACE. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan—trapped in his Basilica, surrounded by soldiers of the Roman army, who represent the Emperor and what, to Ambrose, is a monstrous heresy. Augustine, successful advocate of Milan—in an agony of spiritual uncertainty, hating himself for his attachment to sex, human love and status. Their paths will cross, illuminating a hidden, transformative understanding. The past is gone – the future is not yet – and now is all there is.
This is how Ambrose opens the opera.