Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

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Article excerpt

Byline: Phoebe Luckhurst

Tete a Tete In a word: Experimental. Age: The Tete a Tete opera company was founded in 1997, with a first performance, Die Fledermaus, at Battersea Arts Centre in 1998. It organised the inaugural Tete a Tete: The Opera Festival in 2007.

Where: This year, as in past years, it returns to Riverside Studios in Hammersmith -- though many performances take a promenade approach, using the surrounding streets as a stage.

When: The festival runs from tonight until next Friday.

Who: London's literary crowd, who come both for the performances (mezzo soprano Claire McCaldin is performing Stephen McNeff's Vivienne, an imaginary response by T S Eliot's wife to her detractors) and the networking (acclaimed author and god-daughter of Samuel Beckett, Alba Arikha is presenting her first opera, Soon, with music by husband and composer Tom Smail).

What's on: More than 100 performances of 34 productions -- more than 30 of them world premieres. Subject matter is as "diverse as Jade Goody and Gala Dali [Salvador's wife and muse]". The festival is also staging Lite Bites -- unticketed performances held in small spaces from foyers to parks -- across Hammersmith and Fulham. Show us the money: [pounds sterling]7.50, or [pounds sterling]5 for concessions. Lite Bites performances are free.

The look: Studious with a chic twist: Zadie Smith and Jarvis Cocker are the preferred style icons.

Food and drink: Show your tickets when you order at the Riverside Restaurant & Bar and get 10 per cent off.

Getting there: A 10-minute walk from Hammersmith Tube station.

They say: "Tete a Tete: the Opera Festival is an event which has established itself as a byword for original and pathfinding work." We say: Take the risk -- it's only a Tube trip away.

Grimeborn In a word: Upstart. Age: Now in its seventh year. …

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