Tête à Tête has announced an exciting programme for their 2022 Opera Festival, which will run from 15 August to 11 September 2022.
This year's Festival is rooted in the theme of burgeoning with life, sprouting everything from mythology, history and hysteria to extraterrestrial chaos and the human experiences of our world today.
Other highlights in the festival include:
- Besse: Water, Rye and Hops, the first ever beer-orientated opera about mediaeval women beer makers, taking place at an actual brewery on Druid Street in London.
- 1936: Fishing, about a teenager’s friendship with an older man that gets curtailed in the shadow of Oscar Wilde.
- Voices of the Sands, which draws on on sea shanties, folktales, and found text to conjure the perilous sandbar Goodwin Sands in Kent and tell the stories of those who have travelled and died there across the centuries.
- Toadette, the Frog Opera, a star-crossed tale of love between a frog and a toad, composed by a thirteen-year-old.
● Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022 is a-blossom with wild, unique and
unexpected operatic shoots as the outlandish opera company continues to
nurture theatre-makers with a diverse range of interests.
● Running from 15 August to 11 September 2022, and taking burgeoning with life
as its theme, the festival will sprout everything from the first ever
beer-orientated opera about mediaeval women beer makers, taking place at an
actual brewery (Besse: Water, Rye and Hops), to the world premiere of a 13
year old’s first opera about love-consumed frogs and toads (Toadette,the Frog
Opera), to an opera featuring a chorus of Indian priests, based on the ancient
Indian epic poem Mahabharata (GANGA).
● With the exception of the site specific piece Besse: Water, Rye and Hops, King’s
Cross Summer Sounds event We Are The Monsters, and what the dog said to
the harvest at Kings Place, the shows all take place at The Cockpit,
● As ever,the Festival features long-standing Tête à Tête alumni and debutants
alike and brings together artists from a myriad of countries: among the artists
are composers from Austria, Argentina, Belgium, France, Iceland, India, Iran,
Israel, Italy and the UK, plus performing companies from Birmingham, Hull,
Manchester, Norfolk, Oxford and elsewhere in the UK.
● Many of this year’s operas explore themes of refugees and immigration: drawing
on sea shanties, folktales, and found text, the performers of Voices ofthe Sands
conjure the perilous sandbar Goodwin Sands in Kent to tell the stories of all
those who have travelled and died there across the centuries; Landed tells the
story of a Greek family arriving in England after fleeing the Suez Crisis, and asks
how long you have to be somewhere before you’re a ‘local’; The Journey,
inspired by the ongoing refugee crisis and featuring the refugee choir Citizens
of the World Choir, is a universal and uplifting account of a Man who decides to
escape the confines of his existence to travel in search of a better life.
● Two of the operas put the ever-intriguing Ancient Egypt in the spotlight:
Mezzaterra combines pharaonic hieroglyphs, contemporary poetry and Arabic
and European musical styles to explore writer Camille Maalawy's
British-Egyptian heritage, whilst elsewhere, composer Susie Self brings She Is
My Pharoah, a hip-hop infused performance art piece about the history of the
Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut.
● LGBTQ+ representation is strong as ever, this year in 1936: Fishing, about a
teenager’s friendship with an older man that gets curtailed in the shadow of
Oscar Wilde. Then, performance artist and self-confessed gender-outsider Alice
d'Lumiere is back to reveal if she's now able to hold a note in The Trans Lady
Sings - First Aria following her 2021 piece, Until the Trans Lady Sings, wherein
Alice challenged herself to learn to sing within a year whilst wrestling with
gender and vocal identities.
● The escapist, gripping world of books has inspired many of the pieces in this
year's festival, including:
● The Red Room, which, set in 1930’s Persia and based on a short story by
the famous Iranian writer Sadegh Hedayat, is a Gothic horror opera
about a traveller who, drawn into his host's world, discovers the secret of
the Red Room.
● Music and the Brain, from Iceland is an opera based on neurologist
Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia which tells the story of a Singer whose
successful career has been cut short by an accident. The resulting brain injury has caused her to lose the ability to comprehend music and perform.
● A New England, a historic opera about Alfred the Great’s tender
relationship with his biographer Asser, a monk from Wales.
● The Dong With A Luminous Nose, a magical tale of love and loss told in
poetry, music and mime and based on Edward Lear’s poem.
● There is much comedy in store, from Module 471, a sci-fi comedy horror opera
about a ship headed for destruction, to The Burning Question, about a female
pope trying to get into heaven instead of hell so that she can relax, to The
Crocodile of Old Kang Pow, in which the Marquis de Sade seeks his lost libido
from a crocodile god, mixing opera, gospel, and swashbuckling puppetry.
● A striking number of shows in this year’s offering make one portmanteau show
out of several short operas, a format which follows on from Tête à Tête's first
steps into new opera.
● King’s Cross Summer Sounds is free to access.
● Tête à Tête is a charity which makes extraordinary performances often in
extraordinary places, and helps others to do the same. Tête à Tête has produced
over 100 new operas, and supported thousands of artists to create hundreds
more via Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.
● As so often, Tête à Tête paved the way for the opera sector throughout 2020,
staging the only opera in the government’s DCMS pilots for the return to indoor
performance in July with The Cockpit, and hosting over fifty safely-delivered
productions for live audiences through the pandemic.
● Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022 follows on from Tête à Tête’s success with
The Firework Maker's Daughter in Cornwall, and HOME in Newcastle.
● Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival gives its artists mentorship, support, and a
platform to share their latest creations. They go on to write for everywhere
from the Royal Opera House to the Southbank Skatepark.
Photo credit © Jeremy Nicholson