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 mythological to the astronomical to being grounded in reality.
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, Marylebone.
As ever, the Festival features long-standing Tête à Tête alumni and debutantes alike and brings together artists from a myriad of countries.
Many of this year’s operas explore themes of refugees and immigration: drawing on sea shanties, folktales, and found text, the performers of Voices of the 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’.
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.
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.
The full programme for the 2022 festival can be found here.
Tickets for all ticketed shows can be found here.