Carlos Monzón will be playing the role of Escamillo in Georges Bizet’s Carmen, opening on Feb. 11, 2012 at the Sarasota Opera House. I sat down with the man who will perform as the sexy bullfighter who romances the leading lady (with tragic consequences), and discovered a warm, dedicated family man with a passion for food, music and travel.
Dining Diva: Where are you from?
Carlos Monzon: Guadalajara, Mexico.
DD: What is your favorite food from home?
CM: My mother’s cooking, especially a dish she makes called birria that takes hours to cook and melts in your mouth.
DD: Where did you study?
CM: I was fortunate enough to be discovered by a maestro and was given a full-ride scholarship to the University of Houston 10 years ago.
DD: Where do you live now?
CM: I’ve recently relocated to New York and discovered, with my wife, a great restaurant in the Bronx called Metate that has pretty authentic Mexican food.
DD: What are your favorite places in Sarasota?
CM: I love the gelato at Jolly Espresso Bar and I enjoy going to Lido Beach with my family. My wife is also a singer, a soprano; her name is Kimberly and my daughter’s name is Audrey Juliette. (He gestures to the courtyard where a beautiful woman and adorable little girl are playing near the fountain.)
DD: Do they always travel with you?
CM: Whenever it is possible. I have been without them before and I missed them so much that I cried for them every night.
DD: Where would you like to travel that you have not already been?
CM: I am fascinated by history and would love to visit all the parts of Europe that have ancient buildings and famous historical figures such as Greece, Rome, and Austria.
DD: What do you like about the part of Escamillo?
CM: This is my first time playing this part and I am open to the feedback. I think of this a as a learning process and rather than being nervous, I feel excited.
DD: What kind of music do you like?
CM: Growing up I listened to everything from Mozart to Metallica, from Vivaldi to Iron Maiden—and Guadalajara is the “Land of the Mariachi,” so I enjoy that, too.