• February - March 2018
  • Nationwide Tour

Powder Her Face

Sung in English with English surtitles

“this astonishing, precocious masterpiece” - The New York Times
“★★★★★” - The Sunday Times
“★★★★★” - The Telegraph

A sex-crazed Duchess is trailed by the perpetual whiff of scandal. Her high-society world of perfume and furs is brought low through a sensational divorce case that delivers the world’s most notoriously explicit aria. Four singers in 16 roles and 15 musicians swarm through the style-shifting musical world of Thomas Adès.

“I wrote the sounds of the eras into each scene - so that the pre-war scene would have a Palm Court acoustic, the sound of teatime at the Waldorf, say, with the noise of spoons quietly hitting a hundred teacups; and the Fifties scene the acoustic of a Paul Anka pop record, in a diner, with those pizzicati and congas and the pop of the needle on the '45' in a jukebox; and the Seventies scene would have a transistor-radio noise.” — Thomas Adès

“ Daire Halpin and Adrian Dwyer are both pitch perfect… Stephen Richardson delivers a tour de force… Mary Plazas …a truly great piece of operatic acting… [she] makes moral and emotional sense of the entire opera” The Telegraph

Running time is 140 minutes including one interval of 20 mins.

Please note: this production is suitable for over 16s only.



Cast & Creative Team


Duchess Mary Plazas
Maid / Confidante / Waitress / Mistress / Rubbernecker / Society Journalist Daire Halpin
Electrician / Lounge Lizard / Waiter / Priest / Rubbernecker / Delivery Boy Adrian Dwyer
Hotel Manager / Duke / Laundryman / Other Guest / Judge Stephen Richardson

Creative Team

Conductor Timothy Redmond
Director & Designer Antony McDonald
Lighting Design Fabiana Piccioli
Movement Lucy Burge
Assistant Director Danielle Urbas
Répétiteur John Shea
Irish National Opera Orchestra


Irish National Opera Powder Her Face Promo