Tête à Tête

Tête à Tête is a London-based opera company that commissions new works. Its primary mission is to reach new audiences and to extend the boundaries of traditional opera.


A charity-based arts company, Tête à Tête was founded in 1997 by its current Artistic Director, Bill Bankes-Jones, the conductor Orlando Jopling and then-administrator Katie Price. Originally the company produced works such as The Flying Fox (Die Fledermaus). This was first performed at the Battersea Arts Centre in 1998 then went to the Purcell Room. Shorts followed in 1999, again first performed at the Battersea Arts Centre and then revived at the Bridewell Theatre in 2001. Shorts became Tête à Tête's first touring production. Since 1997 it has produced over 60 new works.[citation needed] In order to provide an opportunity for other artists, composers, and ensembles to showcase their work, the company established Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival in 2006.[1] The festival has since played host to over 150 guest companies.[citation needed]

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

Each year Tête à Tête now takes over Riverside Studios for three weeks in August with a mix of musicians, singers, performers and dancers who are given free rein to present their work, some of which is still in progress. The categories include dance, mime and media technologies. In a review of two works presented at the 2010 festival by Rupert Christiansen, subtitled "Tete a Tete's annual Opera Festival is wonderfully random, and throws up some fine things", Christiansen wrote: "You never know quite what you're going to get or how good or bad it's going to be, and that's exactly as it should be."[2]

Past productions

Past productions have been supported by the company's associate musical ensemble CHROMA and include:[3]

  • 1998 - 2000 The Flying Fox (Die Fledermaus) by Johann Strauss
  • 1999 - 2001 Shorts
  • 2000 Orlando Plays Mad (Orlando finto pazzo) by Vivaldi)
  • 2002 Six Pack, a co-production with English National Opera[4]
  • 2002 The Canticles by Benjamin Britten, a co-production with Streetwise Opera
  • 2005 A Shetland Odyssey by Julian Grant an Hattie Naylor[5]
  • 2006 Odysseus Unwound by Julian Grant and Hattie Naylor[5]
  • 2006 Push by David Bruce
  • 2007 Blind Date (This was the first festival that ran for 3 weeks showcasing numerous projects at various stages of completion. A trend that has followed throughout each festival)
  • 2008 The Cumnor Affair: An Elizabethan Murder Mystery
  • 2008 Johnny's Midnight Goggles
  • 2009 Salad Days by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds
  • 2010/11 Salad Days (ran from November 2010 to February 2011 at Riverside Studios


  1. ^ Church Michael (23 July 2010). "Tête à Tête's short and sweet opera treats". The Independent
  2. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (9 August 2010). "Review: Tete a Tete Opera Festival, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith". The Daily Telegraph
  3. ^ tete-a-tete.org.uk. Previous productions
  4. ^ Tanner, Michael (23 February 2002). "Handful of fun". The Spectator
  5. ^ a b Christiansen, Rupert (7 October 2006). "Opera loosens its corsets". The Daily Telegraph

External links