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The first opera by Thomas Ades, with a libretto by Philip Hensher, is inspired by the life and death of the less than restrained Margaret, Duchess of Argyll (Jill Gomez) who was ejected from her West End hotel in 1990.

Several critics had trouble with the libretto which some considered was too arch, some too camp. The Times had reservations but hailed it as "a brilliant opera by a gifted composer". The Daily Telegraph noted that it "has inspired a wonderful score" and joined in with the chorus of voices looking forward to Ades next opera.

Premiere at the Cheltenham Festival and now part of the Almeida Opera Season. Further performances 9/ 14/ 17 July at 8pm, 22 at 4pm (0171-359 4404).

Overflowing with brilliant invention, the opera manages to be both postmodern and, in the final tragic aria, moving. An impressive achieveme