Adès - Powder Her Face
Adès - Powder Her Face Adès - Powder Her Face Adès - Powder Her Face
Adès - Powder Her Face
Duration: 01:58:42"


In 1963, a public sex scandal shocked Britain. Librettist Philip Hensher inspired the 23-year-old Thomas Adès to compose the music of the soaring opera of the fall of the Duchess of Argyll, a libertine and notorious socialite beauty.

”You could have a blow job aria – begins with words, ends with humming”. It’s by telling him this that the young librettist Philip Henscher convinced Thomas Adès, only aged 23, to write the music of the chamber opera POWDER HER FACE.   

Adès’s playful score employs and transforms popular idioms of cabaret, musicals and tango while paying homage to Berg and Stravinsky. “Be discreet, be good, be brutal” – That is the motto of the reckless but exploited duchess.

Renowned film and opera director Mariusz Treliński has devised a dazzling staging of this critique of middle-class moral conventions. The Duchess provides a virtuoso role for soprano Allison Cook and the other three singers demonstrate their versatility in multiple incarnations.


Allison Cook - Duchess
Peter Coleman-Wright - Hotel Manager, Duke, Laundryman, et al.
Leonardo Capalbo - Electrician, Lounge Lizard, Waiter, Priest, et al.
Kerstin Avemo - Maid, Confidante, Mistress, Journalist et al,.
Music director: Alejo Pérez
Costumes: Marek Adamski
Choreography: Tomasz Wygoda
Composer: Thomas Adès
Sets: Boris Kudlicka
Dramaturge: Krystian Lada
Libretto: Philip Hensher
Lighting: Felice Ross
Director: Mariusz Trelinski
Orchestra: La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra
TV production: Myriam Hoyer
Video: Bartek Macias

Available until

08 May 2016 at 23h59 CET


The Opera Platform presents Adès - POWDER HER FACE from La Monnaie. Starting 06 May 2016 at 21h00 CET, the opera will be available as video on demand.


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La Monnaie: Powder Her Face

La Monnaie | POWDER HER FACE – Synopsis

A sex scandal that shocked Britain. In his opera POWDER HER FACE, composer Thomas Adès paints an empathetic, moving, as well as shocking portrait of Margaret Campbell, the infamous Duchess of Argyll, whose life kept the British tabloids in suspense up until her death in 1990.

La Monnaie: Powder Her Face

La Monnaie | POWDER HER FACE - Making of

Stage director, Mariusz Trelinksi, introduces his approach and fascination with “Powder Her Face”. This short documentary offers glimpses behind the scenes, revealing the exuberant process of a great director at work.