Thomas Adès’s first opera, Powder Her Face opens in a new English National Opera production this April (2-19 April). The opera helped to launch the composer’s international career in 1995 and remains one of his most performed works. It charts the glamorous rise and seedy fall of the notorious socialite beauty Margaret, Duchess of Argyll – here played by soprano Amanda Roocroft – drawing on episodes from the Duchess’s colourful life, not least her sexually voracious appetite. The provocative tale is matched by a dazzlingly precocious score which pays homage to the popular idioms of cabaret and tango, as well as to Weill, Berg and Stravinsky.
The new production by Joe Hill-Gibbins – a major talent in British theatre, here making his opera debut – is sure to be sensational. (Joe Hill-Gibbins shares his thoughts on the Duchess of Argyll here.)
The opera will be staged at Ambika P3, London, described in the Guardian as ‘one of the capital’s hidden and most exciting new spaces.’