It’s fascinating, each year, to witness themes emerging among the operas we host at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.  It’s what artists care about now, what’s raw and needs ventilating, what’s joyous and needs celebrating. There’s a freshness and vitality only possible thanks to responsive funders, resilient artists and short lead-in times.


Some years, the tendency has been very current, e.g. a wave of furious and poignant shows about insularity and isolation in the wake of the Brexit referendum. Some years it has been inexplicable but inescapable, as when we had a wave of operas exploring themes around mental health.


This year marks our sixteenth Festival and a mind-boggling twenty-five years since we opened our own first Tête à Tête production, The Flying Fox. One pleasing theme to emerge this year is delving into the past to make striking discoveries that resonate strongly in the present and, indeed, propel us into a better understood future – a happy way to celebrate our longevity and determination to keep looking forward.


Another theme, very welcome again, is a plethora of queer opera makers and themes, both a reminder that queer politics still matter, that we still need to fight for an inclusive and accepting society, and that, I very much hope, we have created and now hold a genuinely inclusive platform.


Needless to say, this could not have happened without the continued support of our key funders and partners, Arts Council England, the amazing Cockayne Foundation, our wonderful loyal band of individual donors and finally The Cockpit and staff, and of course all the inspirational artists who come to make work with us. We thank you all.


Bill Bankes-Jones

4 July 2023