• Thomas Adès
  • 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

A pre-opera talk before the final performance in Siamsa Tíre featured composer Thomas Adès and librettist Philip Hensher in conversation with conductor Timothy Redmond.

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