classikON is proud to be promoting 3 performances of this historical masque and we asked the co-producers Imogen Grawal and Tara Hasambhoy a few questions about the production and also their musical lives.
How old were you when you decided to be a musician and what led you the instrument(s) you now play?
Tara: I began violin and ballet at age 5 and later took up the recorder. My main instrument is now the viola, which I had never played until I was halfway through my undergrad at the Sydney Conservatorium. Finally I had found my true instrument, changed my degree and in my early 20s decided I really wanted to be a musician. I love both my violin and viola. What I love about string instruments is how expressive and theatrical they are. They are also a beastly challenge!
Imogen: I started singing and playing baritone ukulele when I was about 4 years old. My Dad used to play guitar and we would do numbers like “The House of the Rising Sun”. Then I found a cello in the cupboard at home, which I insisted I could already play, even though it was way too big for me. My parents bought me a smaller cello and sent me to have lessons and by the time I was 13 I knew that I wanted to be a musician – and I have never thought otherwise.
When you’re not rehearsing/performing/teaching, where are you most likely to be?
Tara: Usually parenting! Spending time with friends and family. I like being outdoors.
Imogen: I love being at home, cooking something experimental or dressing up in clothing from other eras. I’m pretty low key and potter around the house with my family or catching up with friends.
After you finish a concert, what is the first drink you want to have in your hand?
Imogen: Bit boring but probably water. Concerts are pretty intense!
Tara: Straight after a concert – water….and chocolate (if there’s any around).
If there weren’t external factors involved, how long do you think a concert should go for?
Tara: I prefer short concerts – an hour or so. I don’t like sitting still for too long in a concert hall!
Imogen: Personally I think it has to do with how comfortable the seat is. In a hard seat, I prefer a short sweet concert – maybe an hour long. If I can recline or slouch I feel more relaxed and can enjoy a longer concert.
When should we clap?
Tara: I like audiences clapping between movements, after solos or whenever there is cause. When performers are shown appreciation in the moment, I feel that they put more into their performance.
Imogen: If you are so thrilled that you want to clap, you should clap. The same can apply to crying.
Tell us some more about what goes on to put on a production like ‘Cupid and Death’? There are a lot of musicians, actors and dancers to wrangle!
Tara: Lots of phone calls and emails! Imogen and I took on this project because we really wanted to play the music – we had no idea just how much work it’d be! There is a lot of coordinating and liaising between our director, musicians, actors, dancers and singers. We’re tapping into all our resources and doing many things that we have not had to do as performers before, including budgeting, sourcing/making costumes and props and publicising the event. We’ll even be painting the sets! We have some wonderful people on board who are helping us with the mammoth tasks. We’ve also been researching the Masque as a genre in great detail. Masques are rarely performed and we want to give our audience a unique and well researched concert experience.
Imogen: Yes, there is lots and lots of emailing to do and a jigsaw puzzle of rehearsals to workout. It’s a bit like Tara and I are married sometimes – we are in constant communication trying to work out how things can be done. The lead up to the production gives us the opportunity to be creative and resourceful as there are so many different facets of a production like this – performers, set design, costume to name a few. We are very fortunate to be working with some wonderful performers so rehearsals are a lot of fun.
There are three performances to choose from – don’t miss out on this very rare opportunity to see such a production in Australia!