With rest of 2020 season canceled, Long Beach Opera gives performers a stage online

With the rest of its season canceled, Long Beach Opera has brought many of its performers online as a way to entertain people at home, as well as pay its artists, in a new video series called Artist Afternoons.

The “fiery soprano,” Catalina Cuervo, who would have sung the role of Frida Kahlo in the popular production originally slated for June at the Museum of Latin American Art, is now putting on a weekly live broadcast from her home in Medellin, Colombia.

Viewers can watch, listen and learn as Cuervo not only discusses but sings operas and popular music from Spain and Latin American countries in both Spanish and English. The weekly show, “Latin Heat,” can be viewed live on Mondays at 4 p.m. as well as after the fact on LBO’s website and Facebook.

Have your tequila ready because today is FRIDA time!!!! 4:00 PM PST with the fiery soprano Catalina Cuervo!

Posted by Long Beach Opera on Monday, May 11, 2020

LATIN HEAT EPISODE 1! With Catalina Cuervo! Music Selections:- Musetta’s Waltz from La Bohème by Puccini.-“Del Cabello Más Sutil”, Spanish Song by Obradors. – “Yo Soy María” from Maria de Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla. Recommended Restaurant of the week! Colombian food from El Paisa! http://elpaisacolombiano.com. Mentions: Opera in Williamsburg, Fundación Prolírica de Antioquia, Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, Teatro Colon de Argentina. Thank you to Maestro Jorge Parodi for accompanying me today in La Bohème! 

Posted by Long Beach Opera on Monday, May 4, 2020

“We pride ourselves at Long Beach Opera on creating the intimate connections between artists and audiences at our live performances,” said CEO Jennifer Rivera in a statement. “It is my belief that even though we are apart, we must continue to find ways to forge these connections, as they are essential to our humanity during times of crisis.”

In mid-April, LBO had announced that although the remaining shows of its 2020 season had been canceled—”Billy the Kid,” originally scheduled for May and “Frida” in June, with “The Lighthouse” postponed until 2021—it would commit to paying its artists 50% of their contracted fees.

To pay them 100% of their fees LBO said patrons can donate to its LBO Artists Support Fund and is encouraging subscribers and ticket holders to turn the cost of their tickets into donations; all funds go directly to the artists.

Launched on May 4, LBO’s daily live shows are supported in part by the California Arts Council,  Arts Council for Long Beach, City of Long Beach.

Catch the following live videos on a weekly basis through Friday, June 26 on LBO’s Facebook page here, and if you miss any, at longbeachopera.org/lbo-online:

Mondays at 4:00 p.m.
A weekly bilingual show featuring Catalina Cuervo live from her home in Medellin, Colombia, performing and discussing operas and popular music from Spain and Latin American countries.

Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m.
You may recognize Andy Wilkowske as a performer in LBO’s The Invention of Morel in 2018. Not only will Wilkowske woo viewers with his baritone voice, but also with his skills on the electric guitar. Viewers can also expect lively conversations about creating new works with various composers from Wilkowske’s circle, live from his home in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m.
With over three decades of LBO productions under this soprano’s belt, viewers can hear beloved LBO artist Suzan Hanson sing, tell stories from some of her favorite experiences in opera, and learn a few recipes while they’re at it, all from the comfort of Hanson’s living room (virtually, of course).

Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
This tenor and bass-baritone duo, Cedric Berry and Ashley Faatoalia, who were last seen together during LBO’s production of the Pulitzer prize-winning “The Central Park Five,” will switch off sharing their voices, stories from home, and other skills, from cooking to home improvement. Viewers can also expect a “Zoom duet,” every now and then.

LB… Oop
Every other Friday at 6:00 p.m.
This charming duo has a palpable chemistry sure to make viewers laugh and relate. LBO staffers Derrell Acon and Joanna Ceja, both singers, dish Friday on all that’s happening in the realm of opera, while touching on what it’s like to live as an artist during COVID-19.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.