Friday 5 July 2019

Site-specific, steam-punk, comic, pop-up & experimental: the many faces of new opera at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

Puccini, arr: Burke: Toscatastrophe! - Gwenneth-Ann Rand, Keel Watson - Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival
Puccini, arr: Burke: Toscatastrophe! - Gwenneth-Ann Rand, Keel Watson - Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2018
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival is returning for the 12th festival, providing a feast of new, experimental and intriguing opera from 24 July to 10 August 2019, with 30 new operas across nine venues ranging from the free Cubitt Sessions which are outdoors, to more formal theatres, not to mention some site specific pieces, The Key (based on a Japanese novel) in a private residence in Dulwich and Duncan House in a block of Camden flats. Whilst God Save The Tea takes place at a secret location.

Top of everyone's list must be Tête à Tête's own Madame Butterflop, continuing their massacring of a classic to create shambolic and hilarous results [see my review of last year's Toscatastrope]. This year, Mary Plazas will be bravely singing the title role against all the odds. Comedy is also around elsewhere too, with The Perfect Opera a satirical sketch piece which attempts perfection by mixing and matching, we can expect a romantic union between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and a pantomime camel. And following on from the perfect opera is a Steam-punk opera, 8.

The multi-talented Ayanna Witter-Johnson is bringing her own show, as does soprano Nadine Benjamin in Beam which follow's a woman's journey through life, mixing opera, creative soundscape and imagery. Benjamin also features as performer in Shirley Thompson's Memories in Mind: Women of Windrush Tell Their Stories. Michael Betteridge and Laura Bowler's Voice(less), which was developed at Snape Maltings, explores how people lose their voice. Errollyn Wallen and Ensemble X will be performing the Errollyn Wallen Songbook, her continually evolving set of Ivor Novello songs.

Nwando Ebizie, Tom Richards and Lore Lixenberg are mixing Hildegard of Bingen, with Haitian Voudou and Neurodiversity (no, I've no idea what it is either) in Hildegard:Visions. Alastair White's Robe describes itself as 'A posthuman fantasia about cartography, cyberpunk and the A.I. singularity featuring high fashion, contemporary dance and musical virtuosity'. Edward Lambert's Apollo's Mission will mix a celebration of the moon landing with the bonkers twist to the Apollo 11 moon landing. Visiting from Poland, Warsaw Stage Society bring Karol Nepelski & Waldemar Raźniak's Birdy based on William Wharton's novel exploring obsessive fantasies.

There will be pop-up opera too including a karaoke station, Karaopera, plus a series of composed pieces popping up, Apple Appleby's We Did Our Best, Catherine Kontz' Handclap, and Vahan Salorian's Aliens on the Street

Full details from the Tête à Tête website.

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