If you haven’t checked out Opera Philadelphia lately, you must! They bring both old and new operas to the Philadelphia cultural community—many operas that don’t just “pay the light bill.” While Bohème is fine for the “traditionalist,” I enjoy something more contemporary because it challenges people musically.
I heard Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès for the first time at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, which fuses jazz, tango, and other rhythms/harmonies together. Although it premiered in 1995, I hope it lives long at international opera houses.
This opera chronicles the life of Margaret Campbell, the Duchess of Argyll, taking snapshots of her life: 1934, 1936, 1953, 1955, 1970, and 1990. In essence she is a self-indulged aristocrat—perhaps a Violetta-type character, only devilish. Two lines from the librettist, Philip Hensher, aptly describe her:
- “Are you saying the Duchess is a whore?”
- “Fancy drinking champagne in the middle of the day?”
This production has concluded in Philadelphia, but I highly recommend others to see it when it’s performed again—and definitely with champagne at midday!