The Long Beach Opera has named Jennifer Rivera as its Executive Director and CEO. Photo courtesy of Long Beach Opera.

Long Beach Opera’s new executive director and CEO considers herself an opera ambassador, and coming from a two-decade operatic career as a soloist, she strongly believes in the power of musical storytelling.

“But when several of my beloved opera companies faced bankruptcy, I decided that I desperately wanted to find ways to bring the power and beauty of opera to as many people as possible, which I decided would be best achieved by working on the other side of the curtain,” stated new CEO Jennifer Rivera in LBO’s recent announcement of the position.

Before joining LBO early last year as director of development, Rivera sang as a mezzo-soprano specializing in baroque and contemporary repertoire and has taken on leading roles internationally. She’s been nominated for two Grammy awards, was named Debut Artist of the Year by New York City Opera and won the Helpmann Award (considered Australia’s Tony Award) in 2015, according to the release.

However, during the latter part of her profession as a vocalist, Rivera’s awareness of the growing challenges facing the opera industry spurred her to pursue work off stage. Her previous attraction to performing unusual works drew her to an administrative position at the progressive LBO.

“I was drawn to Long Beach Opera because I knew that LBO was known as an innovator within the opera world, and that Andreas Mitisek had continually found new ways to make opera exciting, relevant and accessible without compromising artistic quality,” Rivera stated.

During her time as director of development, Rivera has raised over $100,000 in grants, put into motion a $1.5 million, three-year campaign that in six months is already a third of the way toward reaching its goal and started the “Community Conversation Initiative,” a series of free programs bringing speakers and performers to Long Beach to discuss the theme of the opera’s 40th anniversary season: justice.

And now, as LBO’s recently announced CEO, Rivera is proud to continue her work with the performing arts company, working alongside its longtime artistic director Andreas Mitisek to guide LBO into its next era of growth, she stated.

“I have found the most amazing and delightful home in Long Beach, and am eager to continue to contribute to the vibrant, growing arts scene in Long Beach and throughout Southern California,” Rivera stated.

Learn more about the Long Beach Opera and its 40th season here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].