Australian Baroque launches Fringe program with coffee, cakes and a workout
What would Bach bake?
Best to ask Australian Baroque director Helen Kruger, who launches a three-show Fringe program next Friday with the master composer’s Coffee Cantata at Yahava Coffeeworks, West Swan.
“What we’re trying to do with Fringe concerts is make baroque music more accessible because we find when people hear it they are so surprised by it because it’s so appealing,” she says.
With espresso martinis on arrival, the lavishly costumed production channels Bach’s satire on the coffee house obsession of 18th century Europe, a story that still resonates.
“It’s a story about a young lady who is addicted to coffee and her father wants her to give it up, it’s an aria about love and coffee … it’s very, very light, very unlike Bach, very comic. He was inspired by the rise of the coffee house, so quite relevant to today when everyone is addicted to coffee,” Kruger says.
The Coffee Cantata is paired with Telemann’s Don Quixote, another comic tale based on the 17th century Spanish novel, next Friday and Saturday.
The second concert is Cakes and Corelli at The Glass Box in Newcastle Street, on February 6 and 7, with cakes by Holly Raye’s of Bassendean and quartets and quintets by Corelli, Handel and Telemann.
“Each audience member will get a box of four cakes, and each one is paired with a different piece of music, so we talk about the elements in the cakes and we talk about the elements of music, and we find that people can start to hear different things, when you relate it to something else,” Kruger says.
“It’s a more interesting way to experience a concert.”
The third in the series is Abs, Butts and Vivaldi, also at The Glass Box, on February 13 and 14, which combines a PUMP class delivered by fitness instructor and flautist Andy Skinner with concertos by Vivaldi.
“They are the high-octane works of the baroque period,” Kruger says.
“Andy’s choreographed a PUMP class to our favourite concerti from the Four Seasons and from Vivaldi’s other set of concertos called L’Estro Armonico, which translates as The Harmonic Inspiration, it’s awesome, awesome music.
“The idea is the audience is in the PUMP class, they have to wear workout gear, bring a yoga mat, and they’ll have experienced nothing like it – a full baroque orchestra for a workout.”
It’s a completely new production, but based on the experience of Bach and Beer at last year’s Fringe.
“We had a lot of people come for the beer and a lot of people come for the Bach,” Kruger says.
“We sold out all the concerts and we did another couple of concerts last October, and they sold out.
“It’s just a surprising mix of people, because the people who come for the beer are amazed by the music. And they came up to us after the concert and said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve never heard that! It’s incredible’.
“Then equally, our other audience has come for the music and they’ve never tasted beer like that.
“It’s a wonderful, interesting introduction to new things and new experiences.”
After Fringe, Australian Baroque returns to its regular concert cycle.
“Everything else is a little bit more classical, so Fringe is where we’re really pushing the boat out,” she says. “And there are so many Fringe people we can bring to this event.”
And Bach’s bake off? Baroque cakes, of course.
More details and tickets at www.fringeworld.com.au.
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