Powder Her Face

Thomas Adès

Chamber opera in two acts and eight scenes
Libretto: Philip Hensher 
World premiere: 1 July 1995, Cheltenham Festival, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Polish premiere, premiere of this production: 9 May 2015
Co-produced by: Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels
In the original English with Polish surtitles

Seats for the audience are set on the Main Stage in the Moniuszko Auditorium. 

For adults only

Powder Her Face, an ‘opera-portrait’ written in 1995 by the then 24-year-old Thomas Adès, is an abbreviated and only slightly masked in the libretto operatic biography of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, the British ‘Don Juan in a skirt’.

In real life this natural born scandalizer wanted for nothing, except true love. She led a truly colourful life: two notorious marriages, wallowing in unimaginable luxury among other glitterati, eighty eight sexual partners ‘identified by court’ during her divorce proceedings and finally — the loss of remnants of her estate and a lonely death in penury.

Mariusz Treliński’s staging is arranged with great taste into an effervescent cornucopia against the background of which there looms from time to time a very delicately sketched silhouette of Thanatos. The show finale deviates slightly from the libretto and the Duchess of Argyll’s biography — the director’s vision is concluded by an insightfully staged tango-like epilogue, which the composer liked a great deal while viewing the Warsaw premiere.



Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera
Mimes, dancers and children dancers

  • Partners of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

  • Media patrons of Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera