• 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 trails 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-hopping musical palette 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, a tinny, psychedelic iridescence.” — 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

Powder Her Face is a co-production between Northern Ireland Opera and Irish National Opera.

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


Cast & Creatives


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 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

More Details

Second part of a co-production with NI Opera. Belfast performances took place in January 2017. Critically highly acclaimed production. Part of the new Operatic Trailblazers series that features contemporary and completely new works.