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Heady nights at the opera

Highlights of the first week of this year’s Tête à Tête festival of new works

20 July, 2017 — By Sebastian Taylor

The United Kingdom of Earth: A Brexit Opera. Produced by The Agitprop Allstars. Performance on July 26 at the Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, Duke’s Road, WC1

Nearly three dozen brand new operas are being performed by 200 singers, musicians and actors in the 10th Tête-à -Tête jamboree getting under way in King’s Cross next week.

It’s a spectacular programme with operas devoted to Brexit, broken dreams, robots, the ‘F’ word, the Ming Dynasty, hummus, Nebuchad­nezzar and body parts to name but a few subject matters.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be putting on the festival in King’s Cross again with such strong support from the King’s Cross community,” says festival founder/director Bill Banks-Jones. “The enthusiasm we’ve found from a very wide-ranging public in Camden and Islington is living proof of our profound believe that an evening of new opera can make a great night out for anyone.”

Performances take place in several King’s Cross venues, notably The Place, RADA Studios, King’s Cross Primary School and Lewis Cubbitt Square.

There are both ticketed and free shows. Ticketed shows are designed to allow you to sample three or more short works on any given evening.

Festival highlights over the coming week include:

Monday, July 24:
• Pop-up opera Belongings about railway passengers’ luggage will be popping up all over King’s Cross during the festival.

Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow. Produced by Opera North Youth Company,
at Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, Duke’s Road, WC1

Tuesday, July 25:
Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow inspired by Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales.
• World premiere of Liturgie conceived by Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.
ID Please: an opera for the age of Brexit and Trump set at a border control.

Pterodactyls of Ptexas. Produced by Crowe Ensemble at Robin Howard Dance Theatre, The Place, Duke’s Road, WC1

Wednesday, July 26:
Pterodactyls of Ptexas, electronic opera set in the Wild West with trigger-happy cowgirls and dinosaurs.
The United Kingdom of Earth: a Brexit Opera produced by The Agitprop Allstars.

Thursday, July 27
The Moot Virginity of Catherine of Aragon looks back at another event that tore the country in two – the divorce of England’s Spanish queen

Tête à Tête runs until August 13. Full details / tickets at


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