Opera juggles things up
At first glance Geoff Gilson’s role in an upcoming opera couldn’t seem any more out of place.
He will perform as part of a circus troupe in the NBR New Zealand Opera’s The Bartered Bride which hits the stage next week.
As a freelance dancer, choreographer and aerial artist, Mr Gilson has appeared as a dancer in operas before.
While his latest role seems out of the ordinary to onlookers he doesn’t see it as that unusual.
‘‘We think of opera as high art but it is about what’s conceptually valid for the show and if it fits there’s no reason it shouldn’t be part of it.’’
The Bartered Bride is sung in English and will bring Bedrich Smetana’s 1860s comic opera into the 1970s.
Set against the backdrop of a revolution, it tells the tale of a young woman in despair because she is being forced to marry a stuttering rich boy instead of her heart’s desire.
Halfway through, the performance features a high-tech circus act.
‘‘We’re a real rag-tag bunch. This caravan opens up and we all kind of spill out. There’s a lot of juggling and acrobatics,’’ Mr Gilson says.
The Newton resident has spent many years working internationally with some of the most esteemed choreographers. Last year he performed at the Oerol Festival in the Netherlands, the largest outdoor theatre performance in Europe. He also earned praise for choreographing Bathing With Elephants, a show that was on at the Civic last year, and teaches a movement class at Unitec.
Circus performing is something he has become more involved with during the last year.
While circus and opera do fit together well, Mr Gilson says mixing the genres does present some unique challenges.
His favourite scene in the show is one where he and other members of the circus troupe have to flip over a table and then break into a polka.
‘‘We have to grab people from the orchestra and dance with them. You have to be on your game to get it right because everyone, even people that aren’t dancers, get involved,’’ he says.
The Bartered Bride opens on September 22 and runs for four nights at the ASB Theatre.
Admission starts from $49.50.
Something different: Geoff Gilson will put his talent as a circus performer to use in the NBR New Zealand Opera’s The Bartered Bride which opens next week.