Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival announces 2019 Season

Sunday 2nd June 2019

Tête à Tête: The opera festival, which takes place across 9 venues in London, is today announcing its 2019 season, comprising over 30 new operas.


The festival, which returns for its twelfth iteration from 24 July to 10 August, gives its alumni and debutantes a platform to experiment with unconventional and bold operatic forms.

2019’s festival is grounded in themes of mythology and transitions, offering stories to us in dark times to remind us that, through music, art and connection, it all might be okay.

The festival’s highlights include Madame Butterflop, a ruination of Puccini’s masterpiece in true Tête à Tête style, and The Perfect Opera, a satirical piece that crams the 49 tropes expected of an opera into one hip hop foxtrot operatic sketch comedy show, featuring a romantic union between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and a pantomime camel.

Madame Butterflop

Myths and fables also abound in the festival, offering depth, familiarity, metamorphosis and magic: Growth of the Silk chronicles a fable about a woman whose hair won’t stop growing; the Chinese folktale The Bridge of Magpies recounts the myth of magpies helping a separated pair of lovers; Her Face Was Of Flowers encompasses the Welsh myth of a woman composed of flowers, and The Cruel Sister sees a girl drowned, before her bones are turned into a violin.

The programme also features site-specific works, offering audiences contrasting residences as experiential backdrops for pieces exploring human connection and unusual methods of communication:

  • The Key, performed in a private residence in Dulwich and based on the Japanese novel by Junichiro Tanizaki, captures a couple’s inability to connect through alternate diary entries
  • Duncan House is performed in a block of flats in Camden where it is set, where residents choose to communicate to each other solely through written messages

The 鍵 Key

Other themes of this year’s programme include loss and identity, with a poetic dance-opera inspired by the ageing body, an opera about a woman’s bones being turned into a violin, an electroacoustic toy opera about perfection and Memories in Mind, a piece about the women of the Windrush Generation among the highlights.

Young people are also creating artwork in the festival, both directly and indirectly; 8 A Steampunk Opera is composed by a 19 year old, the libretto of the fantastical For Peace and Country is the direct transcript of the writer’s sister playing with her toys aged 8 and Hand Clap, which explores children’s handclapping, features the libretto of the composer’s daughter, who is just 7 years old.

Memories In Mind

Cubitt Sessions will open the 2019 festival in King’s Cross, with free opportunities to see unique artists such as award-winning Errollyn Wallen, who writes her compositions in her lighthouse and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, the artist proving that classical music and R&B are a match.

The festival will also see the return of its much-loved pop-up operas, with an environmental theme. These pop-up operas include We Did Our Best, where a penguin couple express their regret about their failure to counteract climate change to their chick, and Aliens In The Street, where a conspiracy theorist is confronted by a real-life alien.

To find out more, and to book tickets for the shows, go to Tête à Tête’s website here.