Interview: French Cabaret Sensation Adrien Mastrosimone
We caught up with the dashing Adrien Mastrosimone to talk about his favourite haunts, what cabaret means in 2019 and much more…
Tell us about your show ‘A Night at the Cabaret’. What can an audience expect?
A night at the Cabaret is me and my band exploring some of the best song repertoire written over the last century. We perform in a beautiful south London cabaret room where there is superb food and wine and the atmosphere is intimate, chic and so welcoming. I think it’s wonderful to be able to experience this kind of atmosphere and it does help the audience and performers communicate better.
There is a real European flavour with much of what I sing being in French, English, Italian or German, we will be performing some Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, Edith Piaf, Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Mina and Kander and Ebb. There’s plenty of chat in between and maybe the odd dance break too! Before I trained as a classical singer, I was a ballet dancer. My career began in France but I worked all over the world and then later came back to London performing contemporary work and west end musicals.
Mixing the countertenor voice with a jazz trio and performing songs like we do isn’t something you come across very often and really have enjoyed creating this new sound and have been so inspired by our audience’s reaction.
I’m joined by my handsome and super-talented boys, David Malusa on Piano, Hamish Knockles Moore on Double Bass and Rhys Davies on percussion. These guys are fabulous at what they do and it’s a total pleasure to be on stage with them and I think that absolutely comes across in what we do.
What or who are your main influences?
I feed off everything I love and even what I don’t. I guess I try to tap into who I really am by using the music I love to listen to on a daily basis.
However, Edith Piaf is at the heart of what I do, she sang with such gravitas and with so many colours. Other artists that have been with me for most of my life include Ute Lemper, Liza Minnelli, Charles Aznavour and Mina. Opera is still a big part of my life and I adore jazz and folk music too. I think one has to be as open as possible and have a real balanced musical diet!
What does cabaret mean to you in these uncertain times?
I think cabaret, like all art forms, has a responsibility to send a message of humanity, political or otherwise. On one hand cabaret needs to have fun escapism but on the other hand it needs to make us question who we are and what we all mean to each other. I try not to make my shows too serious, and believe me when I say there is enough camp to go around but I do think it’s important that we keep reflecting on our connections with one another and our surrounding world.
What are your favourite songs to perform and why?
So many, which one to choose? – Non je ne regrette rien by Edith Piaf because it’s about always starting fresh with love. Forgetting all that was before and being in the moment with the person you love. – Comme ils disent/ What makes a man by Aznavour. It’s about fighting to be who you are and daring to stand up.- I also have a ‘Sea medley’ that I do- let’s just say it’s a little bit Disney.
What are your favourite London haunts?
I love the Royal Opera House and everything they do there, its a real International culture hub. I also love going to the theatre or any jazz or cabaret club.
As far as food goes, well I love food. Take me to borough market, either to just try all the cheese, or to queue up for Padella (see video below). Dim T is my go-to for dim sum (I live in hampstead so that one is my local) and I love the food at Brasserie Zedel. To party – well I always have fun at The Glory in East London ;).
Find out more about Adrien at adrienmastrosimone.com
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.