Five reasons to move centuries

The 5x5x5@5 series offers everyone a taste of the 18th century.
Five reasons to move centuries

Nicholas Tolputt. Image supplied by Hobart Baroque.

In 2014, Hobart Baroque inaugurate the 5x5x5@5 series. The notion is simple: five different concerts by five different artists with a five dollar entry fee at 5 o’clock in the evening.

The 5x5 concept excites Launceston countertenor, Nicholas Tolputt, whose award-winning voice features on 1 April. ‘The 5x5 performances allow parents with young children, students and the avid concert goer alike to enjoy some of the what the Festival has to offer in an entrée style or taste-plate manner.’

‘Basically, if you had ever wondered if classical music was for you, the 5x5 series is the perfect place to find to out.’  

An initiative of Festival Director, Leo Schofield, the 5x5 series invites audiences to experience classical music without the financial or temporal commitment of opera. ‘It’s not much more than the price of a Magnum!’ Schofield says. 

Returning music to the people, the 5x5 series resonates with the mainstream championing of the  Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries. ‘I hate it when people call it elite,’ Schofield says about the genre. ‘It’s not elite. It wasn’t elite in Verdi’s day. It reaches out to the world with its messages and with the beauty of its music.’

And the younger generation is responding. Nicholas Tolputt is one of the many younger performers at this year’s Hobart Baroque.

‘We have a very, very young core of performers,’ Schofield reflects. ‘I think they’re offering the opportunity for young people in Hobart to see the Baroque is not for crusty old-grey hairs – the music appeals to people who dedicate their lives to it and who have done so from a very young age.’

Tolputt sees the 5x5 series as an innovative addition to the Festival and Tasmania. ‘Hobart Baroque and the 5x5 series represents a breath of fresh air in the classical arts scene in Tasmania,’ he says.

‘An international classical music festival in the state is something to be very proud of. It is unique for its type in all of Australia, and I feel very honoured to be a part of it.’ 

Now based in Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Music at University of Melbourne’s Conservatorium, Tolputt is unequivocal about the contemporary relevance of the Baroque. ‘It is not music for old people or for historians. It is fresh, vibrant and very much alive with great passion and feeling.’

‘The 5x5 series is about getting back to that. Removing all the trappings that have been thrown on classical music, and that it has built up itself, and just letting the bare and fantastic reality of this genre shine through.’

In a paradoxical fashion, the 5x5 series exemplifies how the old breathes life into the new, animating the  city with historical repertoire interpreted by the younger generation. ‘Yes it does,’ agrees Schofield. ‘And it’s only the murmurings.’

For Tolputt, both the natural and constructed environment comprise part of the Festival’s attraction. ‘I find a massive amount of artistic inspiration in the Tasmanian environment and lifestyle,’ he says. ‘The natural beauty of the state is something that I am forever captivated by.’      

But, as with any performer, it’s hard to beat the lure of the stage. ‘I am most looking forward to singing in the beautiful acoustic of the Town Hall in Hobart again,’ he grins.

Hobart Town Hall
31 March – 4 April
For more information visit
Hobart Baroque

Peta Mayer

Monday 10 February, 2014

About the author

Peta Mayer has a PhD in English Literature from University of Melbourne