Gonzalez performs the one act "Carmen" with real-life wife.
There is a love affair onstage at the San Diego City Ballet, and it’s not just the characters in the one-act adaptation of Carmen which closes out the company’s season this Mother's Day weekend.
It’s between two of its stars, married couple Geoff and Ariana Gonzalez who play Don Jose and Carmen respectively.
This adaptation of Carmen is a condensed version of the nearly150-year-old operatic original. But Geoff says although shrinking the love story has its challenges, people will appreciate it from a different artistic perspective.
"The opera form is timeless and powerful," said Geoff. "Using this storyline through a one act ballet format is difficult, but I feel that choreography can bring a passion to it where words cannot."
If this is your first time at the ballet, this is a great introductory production. Geoff says the dancing is beautiful, strong and exciting.
But playing against his wife in roles opposite each other can be demanding especially because he loves working with her, but this particular dynamic between the on-stage characters is far from their real-life relationship.
"For myself, playing the role of the corrupted Don Jose, this role was tricky and not as easy to sink into," Geoffrey says. "Playing opposite my wife is always a joy, but I will have to watch her play my character for a fool and lose my mind to a point where I murder her is something unimaginable to me. We have had to work on the small subtle things to help us build both of our characters to be readable and realistic enough for an audience can grasp why the story turns the way it does."
Carmen isn't the only ballet which closes out the season. Geoff does double-duty as both choreographer and artist in the season-closing companion piece to Carmen.
"This show was particularly tough for me, not because of Carmen, but because of the other ballet on the bill for the weekend called Four Seasons." he says, "music is Max Richter’s recomposed version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; costumes from Karin Yamada and lighting by Stephen Judson."
He adds, "This was my first big ballet I have choreographed for City Ballet. Very excited!"
So whether you are a veteran ballet goer or you are treating someone special to these performances for Mother's Day, this season ending double-bill may be the perfect primer for those not familiar with the artform.
"I think it would be a fantastic show to be introduced to dance with," Geoff says. "A great double bill indeed; two wonderful ends of the spectrum."
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Dates and Times
Friday, May 12, 2017 at 8 pm
Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 8 pm
Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 2 pm
Prior to each performance is a free pre-concert lecture for ticket holders with Artistic Director Steven Wistrich.
"Carmen" will be performed at the Spreckels Theater in Downtown San Diego 121 Broadway, Downtown San Diego