An eclectic selection of operatic essays exploring our strange new world and challenging the boundaries of opera from Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival
It’s an opera festival, so there’s plenty of the usual sex and death. But as a contemporary festival it reflects current affairs, current gripes, and current joys in its programming. Audiences may want to scream into the void about the state of the world and the inexorable and perhaps deadly influence of technology, shriek with joy at the thought of aubergine recipes (Music From The Show Nightshade: Aubergine) or be pleasurably outraged as Tête à Tête itself (back by popular demand) massacre another repertoire classic (Toscatastrophe); whatever, you can probably find it reflected somewhere in this year’s festival. There’s sci-fi, social networking (#Echochamber), ruminations on race and identity (BISHI: The Good Immigrant) displacement and belonging, (Blue electric) the meaning of life, conspiracy theories (Nibiru, Ergo Phizmiz), and the end of the world (at least three times).
Those seeking less challenging topics could find (or pretend to be) a child and go to The Lost Box of Stories and The Barrington Hippo or go for a walk with Catherine Kontz’s music ringing in their ears (Fleet Footing). There will be free Cubitt Sessions including the latest chapter in the Errollyn Wallen Songbook, and forays into that other country of the past with Mary’s Hand, an opera about Mary Tudor, a surreal version of a play by Lorca (The Cloak and Dagger Affair) and the beguiling world of artist Jean Arp (Amphora).
The past, present and future (including, quite possibly, the future of opera) is waiting to be discovered in the enterprise that is the annual Tête à Tête festival.
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival opens in London on July 26 in Cubitt Square and concludes on August 18 at The Place.