Extraordinary Things, Extraordinary Places

We make, and help others to make opera, with love, for anyone.


With a playful yet pathfinding approach, our sights are set far into the future, scanning the vast unexplored possibilities of what opera could be. Artists and audiences embark on adventures with us that can touch them forever in a way they’ll never forget. As we travel together, we always listen and observe, taking the greatest care of each other.


Though our work often happens under the radar, it’s now hard to find artists working in new opera who haven’t grown, at least a little, under our wing and so now carry something of Tête à Tête with them.


We’ve commissioned, produced and premiered over 100 operas, giving work to many hundreds of opera makers. We’ve also hosted, mentored, and empowered others to make almost 600 new operas in our annual Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.


We are based in Cornwall, currently operating in Cornwall, North Tyneside, London and online, where we’ve reached over a million people in 64 nations.


We share as much as we can of our knowledge and experience on our website, including the largest archive of new opera in the world, all free of charge.


Recent highlights include:


· Our Opera Making Workshop with Plymouth University

· Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2023


· In 2022, our production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter in Cornwall with the Minack Theatre, Prideaux Place Padstow and Padstow School in Summer 2022, our North East intergenerational project HOME, our Spring 2022 production Odysseys with the Royal College of Music, London, and the 2022 Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.


· In 2021 Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival and presenting Song of Sea at the G7 in Cornwall.
· In 2020 A DCMS Pilot For The Return To Live Indoor Performance With Live Audiences with our friends at the Cockpit

· A BEM for Artistic Director Bill Bankes-Jones “for services to opera and diversity” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List


You can start to bring your new opera to life here.

You can access development tools here.

You can explore our archive here.

You can donate to our work here.


Tête à Tête is a current Arts Council of England National Portfolio Organisation for its work with new opera artists.


You can see our past productions On Demand and explore our opera festivals and artist resources. You can also read about our history here.

Artistic Director


Bill Bankes-Jones


Summarise your role in 20 words


Founder and driver of the company, dreaming up what we do together with our great team… and then doing it!


What has been your favourite moment as part of the Tête à Tête team?


Particularly special are those moments when a project gets real ignition between audience and artists, It’s what we always aim for and great that we can so often hit that.


What’s your favourite Tête à Tête production?


Flying Fox, Shorts, Six-Pack, The Canticles with Streetwise Opera, Nine Festivals, Salad Days, Pop up Operas always, Dart’s Love, Icarus, Daughters of the Elements, The Last Seed and many many more, too many to choose from!

Music Director


Timothy Burke


Summarise your role in 20 words


Developing, rehearsing and conducting the new operas we commission; helping Bill with Festival curation. Bringing new music to life.


What has been your favourite moment as part of the Tête à Tête team?


I think my favourite ever moment was the day we made Dart’s Love in 2013, the first piece I conducted for Tête à Tête. I met the instrumentalists from CHROMA for the first time that morning – I’d been so nervous that I wouldn’t get to work with them before the day of the performance – and then they played it as if they’d been playing it all their lives. The whole Tête à Tête team were buzzing about the theatre doing everything at once, achieving what a national opera company would take 10 days to do in 1 day. Incredible.


What’s your favourite Tête à Tête production?


If I had to pick one, it’d be The Last Seed by Na’ama Zisser. I think it is like absolutely nothing else I’ve ever heard. The way 5 unusual male voices, all clustered around alto & tenor ranges, blend and intertwine, sharing out the words in a sentence, all wreathed around by the sounds and textures of CHROMA – it was a very special piece to create.

Administrative Director


Anna Gregg


Summarise your role in 20 words


The seat belt, mirror, indicator, manoeuvre… with many tire changes, petrol re-fuels, new brakes and buckets of acceleration. *Polish depending


What has been your favourite moment as part of the Tête à Tête team?


The whole ride, but the best bit is  talking to our artists about how we can make their time with us the best it can be. Mind you I do love rushing to the loos post performance to listen in on what audiences really thought about a show.


What’s your favourite Tête à Tête production?


Push!,  Amerika, The Last Seed, Salad Days, My Mother My Daughter, The Cumnor Affair but also  pretty much everything in every festival for its sheer ambition.

Our People


Richard Ault

Sarah Hard

Andrei Kazantsev

Ergo Phizmiz

Katie Price

Joanne Roughton-Arnold
Hannabiell Sanders

Omar Shahryar


Advisory Panel

Vera Chok

Nick Sutcliffe

Julian Wright


Management Team

Artistic Director Bill Bankes-Jones

Music Director Timothy Burke

Administrative Director Anna Gregg

Technical Director David Salter

Consultant Sarah Playfair

Associate Ensemble CHROMA
Marketing Director Leo Doulton
PressWildkat PR



Tête à Tête History



The Flying Fox






Orlando Plays Mad






Six-Pack (co-production English National Opera)

Britten’s Canticles (co-production Streetwise Opera)



Family Matters (work in progress)



Family Matters



Shetland Odyssey



Odysseus Unwound




Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 1

Blind Date



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2

The Cumnor Affair



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 3

Salad Days 1



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 4

Salad Days 2



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 5



Circus Tricks

Great Expectations (in association with the Royal College of Music)

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 6

Salad Days 3



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 7



Hogarth’s Stages (in association with the Royal College of Music)


Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 8



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 9



Crime & Punishment (in association with the Royal College of Music)

Cubitt Sessions, Kings Cross 1



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 10

Cubitt Sessions, Kings Cross 2

Belongings (Co-commissioned and co-produced by Tête à Tête and sound)



Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (in association with the Royal College of Music)

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 11

Cubitt Sessions, Kings Cross 3



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 12

Cubitt Sessions, Kings Cross 4



DCMS pilot for the return to indoor performances with a socially distanced audience

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 13



Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 14


The Firework-Maker’s Daughter
Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 15



Opera Making Workshop with Plymouth University

Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 16