Monday 20 August 2012

Tete a Tete: The Opera Festival

To Hammersmith's Riverside Studios yesterday to catch the last day of Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival. We saw Leo Geyer's The Mermaid of Zennor (see review), plus two of their Lite Bites. Plans to see a performance of Tête à Tête's own production of Samuel Bordoli's Amerika, based on Kafka, were confounded by late running of the planned schedule, always a problem when presenting new work.

The Lite Bites were all short 10 minute pieces for soprano, baritone, cello and vibraphone which were presented in the foyers of the Riverside Studios as well as out and about in Hammersmith. The problem with foyer presentation was that some people seemed to be more interested in talking about the opera they had just seen rather than listening to the one that was being presented before them.

The cast, Daniel Broad and Joanna Songi, instrumentalists, Corentin Chassard and Ric Elsworth, and conductor James Young were the same for each piece and each was directed by Bill Bankes-Jones with designs by Fabrice Serafino which encompassed an angel's costume for Elsworth and a devil's for Chassard.

Laurence Osborn's Earthly Desires, with words by Theo Mertz, was a hilarious take on speed dating with the drawback that the man (Daniel Broad) was possessed by the devil. Osborn has written a nicely fluid score with some lovely writing for the instrumentalists. The comedy was delightfully broad and had everyone in stitches. Broad was nicely over the top when portraying the devil.

Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Love Bytes was a rather lower key piece, with two people involved in a cyber-romance trying to decide whether or not to actually meet. Frances-Hoad's score used hints of dance rhythms in the accompaniment and memorable melodic tunes to create and attractive musical package.

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