Out of the Shadows

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Unearthing the future - Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival for 2021

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

Last Summer, Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival was one of the few organisations who managed to put together a season of live, indoor events with audiences with their 2020 festival at The Cockpit. For 2021, the festival is returning to The Cockpit as well as having events at the Cubitt Sessions in Kings Cross, with an excursion to the Round Chapel in Hackney, with many of the shows having an online version as well.

The live events at this year's Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival run from 27 July to 17 August, and the festival takes as its theme Unearthing the future. Some works such as Darren Berry's comic operetta The Crocodile King of Old Kang Pow, and Edwin Roxburgh's Her War, represent complete visions for works partially revealed last year, whilst Alastair White's RUNE represents the culmination in a fashion-opera trilogy which has been unfolding over the last few years with ROBE [see my review] and WEAR. Following on from last year's We Sing/I Sang [see my review], Leo Doulton returns with another improvised work, Come Bargain With Uncanny Things.

Inspirations behind this year's operas include the love poems of Roman poet Sextus Propertius, one of the great classical novels of Chinese literature, and a novel by Italo Calvino. Marco Galvani's Helena [see my review of Invisible Cities, Sansara's recent disc of Galvani's choral music] takes Karel Čapek's 1920 science-fiction play RUR as its starting point. Our attitudes to our bodies and our sexualities form a number of key themes, so strong LGBTQ+ representation features in Warboy & Stewart's Shut Down The Club, an operatic techno rave looking at clubbing after covid, whilst Alice d'Lumiere's Until the Trans Lady Sings, is a piece about an aspiring singer wrestling with gender and vocal identities, and Her Body from Seawolf (Susannah Self) is a feminist, body positive piece exploring our relationship to mind, body and spirit.

Full details from the festival website.

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