Powerful music, bold theatricality and a licentious story make for sensational opera, and that’s exactly what audiences will enjoy when Opera Philadelphia presentsPowder Her Face at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, beginning June 7.
Based on true-life events, the opera tells the tale of Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, whose bitter divorce became tabloid fodder in 1963 when her husband, the Duke, accused Margaret of being a nymphomaniac who cheated on him with 88 lovers.
Needless to say, the number of conquests alone makes for headlines, but when your alleged lovers include members of Britain’s Royal Family plus Hollywood stars such as Bob Hope, Maurice Chevalier, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and David Niven, well, that makes for quite the media frenzy.
The tantalizing tale about a socialite dubbed the “Dirty Duchess,” who once lived in a castle and ends up a lonely woman holed up in a hotel room unfolds in flashbacks that reflect on six decades of living life both high and low.
Heads up: The opera does not hold back on the sexy stuff. Certain parts are racy enough that the production comes with an advisory that the show features adult situations that are inappropriate for young audiences.
Part of the innovative Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater, this provocative production by Thomas Adès offers riveting theater with fabulous music that combines contemporary opera with references to jazz, the American popular songbook and tango music.
The cast includes renowned soprano Patricia Schuman, who’s had leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and Covent. Her co-stars include bass Ben Wager, an Academy of Vocal Arts alumnus who recently appeared in Opera Philadelphia’s April production of The Magic Flute.
Tickets to what’s sure to be a knockout show are available online.
Opera Philadelphia’s Powder Her Face
When: June 7-16
Where: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad Street
More info: www.operaphila.org