Powder Her Face

Thomas Adès

2 – 19 April 

9 Performances  
Running time: 2hrs 20mins

English National Opera  travel to Ambika P3 to present a new site-specific production of Adès’s witty, poignant and colourful tale of the ‘Dirty Duchess’.

Powder Her Face charts the glamorous rise and seedy fall of the notorious socialite beauty, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll. A former deb of the year, the Duchess was at the centre of a scandalous divorce case in 1963, the year of the Profumo Affair, when the Establishment was caught with its pin-striped trousers round its ankles. Drawing on episodes from the Duchess’s eventful life, not least her sexually voracious appetite, a mythical portrayal of this elegant yet ultimately tragic figure emerges. 

Powder Her Face launched Ades’s international career in 1995 and remains one of his most performed works. His dazzling score is as memorable as the Duchess herself, paying homage to the popular idioms of cabaret and tango, as well as to Weill, Berg and Stravinsky. Joe Hill-Gibbins, one of the most exciting talents in British theatre, makes his opera directing debut while Olivier Award-winning soprano Amanda Roocroft stars as the infamous Duchess.

‘He should be acclaimed: he is one of our best young directors’

The Guardian on Joe Hill-Gibbins

Conductor Timothy Redmond

Director Joe Hill-Gibbins

Designer Ultz

Lighting Designer Adam Silverman

Cast includes

Duchess Amanda Roocroft

Apr 2, 4, 8, 10, 14, 16 at 7.30pm

Apr 5, 12, 19 at 6.30pm


Tickets priced £15-£40. All bookings will be processed by the English National Opera box office.

Pre-performance talk: Fri 4 Apr, 5.45-6.30pm, £5/£2.50 concs

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