Festival Introduction

More than ever, what a pleasure it is to present Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival – and amazingly to do so for the fourteenth time.  


After the extreme roller-coaster of 2020, where we opera makers found ourselves clinging on to each other for dear life yet somehow together built a festival every bit as good as ever, it’s a privilege and a delight to collaborate with so many brilliant, resilient artists in 2021. All of us are emerging undaunted from the wreckage with an inspired determination to unearth more and more discoveries that will take opera into a healthily thriving future.  


We’re each still processing what has happened to us over the past eighteen months, and it’s fascinating, as ever, to see how this emerges in themes across the works in the festival. Whether drawing lessons from the past to inform a better future, developing the lessons on inclusion we’ve been learning over the last year and a half, or exploring a dystopian – or maybe utopian – posthuman future, the passion, ingenuity and invention of all these intrepid artists is a thrill to experience, as I’m sure it will be for you, our audiences.


We’re so happy to continue the Interactive Broadcasts we developed with our partners at The Cockpit last year, opening up the work to those who can’t access the conventional spaces of opera.  We’re also delighted again to welcome back to our performance spaces the live interactions of artist and audience we’ve been so starved of.


As ever, we all owe a huge vote of thanks to all our funders and supporters, and in particular Arts Council England and The Cockayne Foundation, whose long-term support has made our future remarkably secure for the next few years to come.  Needless to say, any further help is very much more than welcome.



Bill Bankes-Jones, Artistic Director

29th June 2021