Reviews of Powder Her Face, Royal Danish Opera 2016
In The Royal Theatre's production of the opera - which probably should be advertised as "unsuitable for children" - you are not in any doubt about what is happening between the sheets, yet it is by no means vulgar. Probably because the director Orpha Phelan has managed to deliver a production with the same warmth as Adés' music. It is advanced, packed with ideas and manages to constantly surprise.
"Bring me wine, bring me meat" says the naughty Duchess, whose history is now told in a beautiful and intense way at the Royal Opera. Everything is finely tuned by the Irish woman Orpha Phelan, whose productions have been staged three times in Malmö before coming across the water to Denmark. One cannot believe that the opera runs only to 16 April - it is already sold out.
Frederiksbog Amts Avis, 2016
Only good reasons to come to The Royal Opera. All excellent performances in a production which delivers desperateness in an elegant tragicomedy - a compelling musical experience. A captivating, convincing, virtuosic staging.
A lot going on, but the clear direction puts thoughts - and appetites - at the tip... Phelan's addition of a young duchess (Christine Dahl Helweg Larsen) is quite marvellous.
This is director Orpha Phelan's first mission for the Royal Opera. In Malmö she is known for staging Hoffmann and Jenufa. Here she works with strong contrasts and cool effects, the singers have to act with great force and clear sensuality. The sex scenes are explicit, some border on￼ pornographic, but they serve both the piece's and Phelan's purpose in this morality play... a cutting edge production.
Skånska Dagbladet, 2016
Phelan's quite brilliant addition of the young duchess...
Magasinet KBH, 2016
Orpha Phelan emphasizes the Duchess's tragic inability to understand herself by introducing a younger doppelganger Duchess. So gullible and naive is the Duchess, even advanced in years, we see her troubled, filled with disgust....this is marvellously delivered by Phelan. She leaves the Duchess undressed on stage, covered only by a painting of her younger self. That is masterful!
Ars Artis, 2016
The silent doppelganger is a fascinating dramatic ploy...