Featured Artist: Brian Gonzalez (Tenor)

brian (2).jpg

Brian will be singing Titus in the Red cast of "Justice or Mercy: an immersive modern adaptation of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito". Brian was good enough to sit down with us and discussing the challenges and adventures in this production!.

POP: Where are you from? How did you first get interested in opera or musical theatre?
Brian: I was born in Mexico but have been living in the US for 17 years now. I was always interested in music and acting, but it wasn’t until my junior year in college that I actually considered opera as a potential career for myself.

POP: What are your dream roles?
Brian: Mozart’s Don Ottavio, his music is beautiful. Also, anything by Massenet!

POP: What's a role you would never sing that you would like to sing?
Anything of Massenet tenor roles. They are meant for a bigger voice tenor. Also, I just want to be Lady Gaga… not sure I have the look and voice for that style of pop!

POP: How should we as interpretive artists deal with works that are highly politicized and potentially sexist?
Brian: In many ways I think art tells the truth of a time period, while I may not agree with the way a work is handled or the things it implies it is very much a reality of the time period it comes from. I see it as performing history and putting things into context.

POP: What do you think is the best way to make opera relevant to the next generation?
Brian: One, I think we need to perform newly composed works that are relevant to society right now. Two, we need to relax the cultural expectations behind attending an opera. Wear shorts, tank tops, talk and eat during the show, just come and get something out of it!

POP: Who is your character and how do you see them?
Brian: I am playing Titus in this production. I think he is noble and very, very naïve and idealistic. I kind of like that about him because he is very much the opposite of me, I am more of a realist by nature.

POP: What do you love about this interpretation of Tito? What’s challenging?
Brian: I think the biggest challenge behind this interpretation is that the audience will be so close to the performers. Almost, as if the audience is part of the scenery/show. It makes it challenging because the barriers of the stage are remove, they will be able to see every flaw on my face, my technique, but this also makes it exciting and hopefully something to remember!

POP: What’s your favorite moment in the opera?
Brian: I really love the dialogue when Sarah/Sesto and Titus are left alone to talk after it is discover that she attempted to murder him. It’s raw and full of emotion.

POP: What do you think will be special about doing this as a promenade adaptation?
Brian: The audience will basically be part of the show!

POP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Brian: I think it’s really interesting how we are living in this very tumultuous political time in the US and how this opera was basically a commission from a monarch. The opera, in its original form, very much is an ode to how monarchs are awesome and benevolent and beloved.

POP: Most importantly... which will you vote for: Justice or Mercy?
Brian: Justice!! I don’t want to sing the long recitative… Just kidding,
I would vote Mercy, I wish were all a lot more merciful in general and that leaders actually always showed Mercy and that the perpetrators changed their ways!