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Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022 Announces Performance Lineup
17.07.2022

By Chris Ruel
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2022 has announced its lineup. Under the theme of “burgeoning with life,” the productions promise to be one-of-a-kind.

The Festival runs from August 15-September 11, 2022. Here’s what’s on tap.

Kicking things off is a performance of “We Are the Monsters,” a Celtic fusion project created by members of Monster Ceilidh Band, Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening, and The Shee. The work melds traditional and electronic influences with a five-piece electro-folk line-up comprising some of the most well-known names in the U.K. folk scene.

Performance Date: Aug. 15, 2022

“What the dog said to the harvest” is a collaboration between poet and writer lisa luxx, and composer jasmin kent rodgeman that is part performance and part installation. luxx and rodgeman’s work confronts human displacement as a climate emergency and the inequities faced by climate refugees. The work pulls from opera, dance, spoken word, binaural sound, and archive/documentary film.

Performance Date: Aug. 18, 2022

Infinite Opera presents composer Daniel Blanco Albert and librettist Roxanne Korda’s “Besse: Water, Rye and Hops,” a beer-oriented opera that tells the story of Besse, a 14th-century brewster who loves beer and the independence it provides. Undeterred by accusations of witchcraft and the Black Death, Besse aims to take beer to its greatest heights. Appropriately, the performance will take place at a brewery.

Performance Date: Aug. 24, 2022

Composer Jack Dauner and librettist Kristin Hurst bring “Toadette, the Frog Opera” to the stage. The opera is a love story between a toad and a frog separated by a series of misfortunes and bad timing. The show will appeal to younger audiences and adults.

Performance Date: Aug. 29, 2022

Camille Maalawy and Mark Slater’s “Mezzaterra – Meeting Point” is a song cycle of eight songs based on themes of culture, identity, and celebrating the middle ground—the mezzaterra—where we meet and unite.

Performance Date: Aug. 30, 2022

The Operatists present composer Lucy Mulgan and comedian James Sherwood’s opera “Module 471” about a spaceship with a myriad of problems in this new work-in-progress scifi-horr-OPERA.

Performance Date: Aug. 30, 2022

Jataneel Banerjee’s “GANGA” is a work-in-progress chamber opera in Sanskrit. Ganga, a celestial river goddess whose womb becomes the medium for higher purposes, confronts a difficult choice in this saga of heartbreak, promises, and love.

Performance Date: Aug. 31, 2022

Rounding out August is the London premiere of the triple-bill “A Coffin, a Confession, and a Cautionary Tale.” Produced by New Chamber Opera, each piece comprises a monologue in which the solo singer takes the audience through a series of events, past and present.

Performance Date: Aug. 31, 2022

September kicks off with “She is My Pharaoh,” produced by Selfmademusic, with music by Mr. Self. Self, whose sound has been described as a fusion between John Cage and Sting, takes the audience through a ritualistic performance installation about the only female pharaoh, Hatshepsut.

Performance Date: Sept. 1, 2022

“The Burning Question,” produced by the Music Troupe, with music by Edward Lambert and text by Norman Welch, Edward Lambert, and Ambrose Bierce, tells a surreal story of love, death, and grand opera, simultaneously.

Performance Date: Sept. 1, 2022

Composer Michael Betteridge and librettist Rebecca Hurst present their cantata, “Voices of the Sands.” The piece draws from sea shanties, folktales, and found text. Written for three voices and harp, the performers invoke a sandbar off the Kent coast and tell the stories of those who have traveled and died there.

Performance Date: Sept. 2, 2022

“Film performance” by Luciana Perc is a musical response to the short film “Film” (Samuel Beckett, Buster Keaton). Each solo performance in this vocal and electroacoustic work focuses on a specific combination of objects featured in the short film. Perception and self-awareness are explored through the figure of the doppelgänger in “Film” and transposed to our daily interaction with cameras over the pandemic.

Performance Date: Sept. 3, 2022

“Landed,” composed by Steve Pfleegor Potter with a libretto by Zoe Bouras, is a work-in-progress that combines autobiographical text, live improvisation, and musical influences from Athens to London. “Landed” is the story of a Greek family fleeing the Suez Crisis and discovering their new home in England is falling off a cliff.

Performance Date: Sept. 3, 2022

Homo Promos will present “1936: Fishing” with music by Robert Ely and text by Peter Scott-Presland. The performance is the premiere of Episode Seven from “A Gay Century,” a 17-part epic put together by Britain’s oldest, award-winning LGBT company. The work is an exploration of LGBT history, relating the friendship between an old man and a teenager on Brighton Pier, where Oscar Wilde’s downfall casts a long shadow forty years later.

Performance Date: Sept. 4, 2022

Produced by Truelove Tours, “The Trans Lady Sings – First Aria” is a work-in-progress that features full-time Performance Poet and part-time woman Alice d’Lumiere. The artist returns after her 2021 Festival piece, “Spoken Word Overture,” which challenged her to overcome her childhood inability to sing. This year, d’Lumiere will reveal whether or not she can.

Performance Date: Sept. 4, 2022

“The Trilobite, Or The Fall Of Mr Williams,” written by Elfyn Jones, and produced by Sonopera, returns to the Festival after performing under Covid restrictions in 2020. As Mr. Williams plummets from a cliff, a journey to Exmoor, a love triangle, a near-death experience, a lecture in geology, and an opera all play out in mid-air.

Performance Date: Sept. 6, 2022

Tasty Opera, in association with the Royal Academy of Music, presents “Fossils, Lies & Poison,” a three-course tasting menu served with sides of justice, farce, and flypaper. “New Genus” features music by Rockey Sun Keting and words by Teresa Howard. “Cummings & Goerings” was composed by Zhenyan Li, with text by Sam Redway, and “Behind God’s Back” features music by Joseph Howard, set to words by Emma Harding.

Performance Date: Sept. 7, 2022

Josh Kaye and Alanya Noquet’s “Outlier,” produced by Outlier Opera Company, immerses the audience in the world of the NHS and the mind of a highly stressed junior doctor.

Performance Date: Sept. 7, 2022

“Sometimes I visualise myself back in the belly of my mother” by Mees Vervuurt, is an immersive opera in which singers use the edges of their voices—from stuttering to wolves howling —to articulate their desire to return to the womb.

Performance Date: Sept. 8, 2022

Fantômas Opera presents “The Red Room,” with music by Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour with text by Dominic Power. The work is a portable opera for three voices set in 1930s Iran and based on a short story by the Iranian author, Sadegh Hedayat.

Performance Date: Sept. 8, 2022

The writings of neurologist Oliver Sacks inspired the composer Helgi R. Ingvarsson and librettist Rebecca Hurst to write “Music and the Brain,” an opera about brain damage. The work tells the story of The Singer, whose successful career has been cut short by an accident that leaves her unable to comprehend music and perform.

Performance Date: Sept. 9, 2022

In William Gardner and Matthew Green’s “A New England.” After overcoming severe adversities, Alfred, King of the West Saxons, seeks a monk from Wales while the survival of all of England hangs in the balance.

Performance Date: Sept. 10, 2022

The life of the eccentric composer, Erik Satie, is explored in “Memoirs of an Amnesiac: The Life of Erik Satie.” Composed by Samuel Pradalie, with words by Pradalie and Erik Satie, the opera comprises a set of surreal, humorous vignettes based on Satie’s writings.

Performance Date: Sept. 10, 2022

The final day of the Festival features a double-bill with John Hawkins and librettist Edward Lear’s “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” produced by Luminose, and “The Journey” composed by Jeremy Gill to text by Gill and Marianna Suri. “The Dong with the Luminous Nose” is a story of love and loss told in poetry, music, and mime. “The Journey” was inspired by the ongoing refugee crisis and is based on a story by Michael Zand. The production features the Citizens of the World Choir, an amateur choir of refugees and asylum seekers.

Performance Date: Sept. 11, 2022

Reptilian Productions’ “The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow Grand Finale,” with music and text by Darren Berry, features opera, gospel, puppetry, swashbuckling sword fights, and so much more. In this raucous tale, the Marquis de Sade has lost his libido and must petition the Crocodile God of fertility. Unfortunately, the Crocodile God’s libido is lacking, too, and should the Marquis fail in his quest, Marie Antoinette will cut off his head.

Performance Date: Sept. 11, 2022

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