The Woman Walked into Doors

The Woman Who Walked into Doors - an opera for soprano, actress and videoscreen

The Woman Who Walked into Doors tells the moving life story of Paula Spencer. A stream of memories is triggered when she is told that her husband has been killed by the police; she looks back on her youth, how she fell in love, married shortly afterwards and how her marriage ended in a drama. Paula and Charlo have four children, but immediately after their marriage, during her first pregnancy, Charlo started to hit her. He knocked her teeth out, broke her fingers, threw her down the stairs, burned her with cigarettes, after which, time and again, he would take her to the hospital. No one ever asked any questions, evidently no one ever saw anything nor did anyone ever want to see anything. When people asked her what happened to her, she would say: "I walked into a door." Until one morning, when, after seventeen years of marriage and hell, she attacked Charlo with a saucepan and threw him out.


Ask me ask me, ask me, broken nose, loose teeth, cracked ribs.

Ask me.


The Woman Who Walked into Doors tells the story of a woman and her lonely fight, doing all that she can to keep her head above water. She is a stubborn heroine of everyday life, who eventually found the courage to take a radical decision. The social and emotional despair of a working class woman raised in a working class area of Dublin, is a surprising subject for an opera. The director Guy Cassiers and composer Kris Defoort wanted primarily to work with three basic elements in the opera version of Doyle´s story; the singer Paula, the actress Paula - both live on stage - and an omnipresent video screen that functions as Paula's antagonist as well as the setting. All the secondary characters, the world and language surrounding her, are coloured and brought to life by video projections. 


Premiere 7 November 2001 deSingel Antwerp

The Woman Walked into Doors
The Woman Walked into Doors
The Woman Walked into Doors
The Woman Walked into Doors


  • BASED ON Roddy Doyle ("The Woman Who Walked into Doors")
  • MUSIC Kris Defoort
  • LIBRETTO Guy Cassiers & Kris Defoort
  • DIRECTOR Guy Cassiers
  • CONDUCTOR Patrick Davin or Etienne Siebens
  • SINGER Claron McFadden
  • ACTRESS Jacqueline Blom
  • MUSICIANS Dreamtime & de Beethoven Academie of Prometheus Ensemble
  • SET DESIGN & CONCEPT Marc Warning
  • VIDEO Peter Missotten, Kurt D'Haeseleer (De Filmfabriek)
  • TEXT GRAPHICS Wies Hermans (De Filmfabriek)
  • COSTUME DESIGN Valentine Kempynck
  • LIGHTNING Enrico Bagnoli
  • DRAMATURGY Marianne Van Kerkhoven
  • PRODUCTION LOD muziektheater & ro theater
  • COPRODUCTION deSingel (Antwerp), Rotterdamse Schouwburg, La Monnaie/De Munt (Brussels), RuhrTriënnale (Duisburg) and de Beethoven Academie

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