Sunday, 22 January 2017

Tête à Tête is 20, and the opera festival is 10

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 10th anniversary report
Amazingly Tête à Tête is 20 this year, and Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival will be celebrating its 10th anniversary too with the 2017 festival which runs from 24 July to 13 August 2017 at Kings Place and The Place. The company has also launched a new website, which has both public areas and an area for artists and opera producers, and has released a report into the company's activities which sheds light on quite how inclusive the company is.

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival was founded in 2007 and has been hosted in the Kings Cross area since 2014. There have been over 1000 performances and over 400 new shows, quite a statistic. The festival arose out of the company's own lively and ground breaking productions, creating a festival with the intention of giving creators the chance to make shows themselves. Impressively the company's 10th anniversary festival report shows a 50:50 split between male and female producers commissioned to produce new work, plus new shows from transgender artists. BAME artists are there to, with 22% of composers in 2015 coming from minority backgrounds.

As well as developing formal shows Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival introduced the delightful concept of pop-up opera, where three or four different shows would be popping up in the foyers repeatedly during the festival. Providing festival goers with an intimate and up front experience, which was free; over 8 years 36 tiny operas have been commissioned and performed. This expanded into the Cubitt Sessions where last year, the company performed a series of new shows outdoors for whoever wanted to stumble across them and watch.  These attracted huge audiences; the fact that there were no tickets and that people could simply wander past meant that anyone could happen by and be drawn in. The Cubitt Sessions will be back at the 2017 festival.

The new website is aimed at both opera lovers and opera producers. For the opera lover there is plenty of information, including an industry newsletter, and the prospect of interviews with key figures; the first interview is with Daniel Kramer, as well as on-demand videos of new opera. For the opera creator and producer there is an artists area which is aimed at continuing the sort of facilitation which Tête à Tête has been doing, helping potential creators to talk to each other and create new work.

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