Monday, 5 August 2019

Tete a Tete Opera 2019

I was pleased to be able to catch at least one day of this year's now well-established London festival of new opera Tete a Tete, which is always a valuable place to meet and talk about the genre if nothing else. On the afternoon and evening that I went we were able to see three productions of short new works in RADA's Drill Theatre Studio.

First was BEAM, an anagram of BAME, a autobiopera (if you like) in which Nadine Benjamin performed music both accompanying her personal and professional growth, as well as part of its repertoire. Stark personal performing like this only works, as it did, if the protagonist is both professional and *good*. The Q&A afterwards was not only a useful forum but also a welcome chill out from the intensity of what we heard. This was followed by Voiceless, another tour de force vehicle for mezzo Rosie Middleton, which is still in a period of development.

Finally we saw Panter & Faulkner's The Cruel Sister, a very entertaining (not to mention polished) Grimm-like Northumbrian yarn with a nice role for a double threat Esther Mallett (singing and fiddling) and an effective role for a dancing actor, played here by Michelle Buckley.