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Powder Her Face, RO, Linbury Studio Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Powder Her Face, RO, Linbury Studio Theatre

Powder Her Face, RO, Linbury Studio Theatre

Opera at its most debauched and most brilliant from Thomas Ades

Sexy but not scandalous: the 'vocally terrific' Joan Rodgers as the DuchessBill Cooper/ Linbury Studio Theatre
Let's get straight to the fellatio, shall we. The blow job - and its Polaroid rendition - that led to the 1960s divorce trial of the dissolute Duchess of Argyll forms the centrepiece aria (an aria that "begins with words and ends with humming") in Thomas Adès's opera Powder Her Face. And how good we were: as silent as a row of Trappists. There was none of the outrage, laughter, consternation that this staged blowy could once summon up and that once led Classic FM to ban the work. Sex, when dealt with correctly - as in Carlos Wagner's revival production - is never really scandalous. It's awkward, poignant and, at times - Heaven forfend - actually kind of sexy.

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