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Long Beach Opera Community Conversations Return In June 2020

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Long Beach Opera Community Conversations Return In June 2020

Long Beach Opera is bringing back its popular and relevant series of Community Conversations June 14, 21, and 28 that were inspired by the LBO world premiere production of The Central Park Five, which recently won the Pulitzer prize. These Conversations are available on facebooklive and archived following at

These three virtual events hosted and curated by LBO's Director of Engagement and Equity Dr. Derrell Acon are Equity and Diversity in the Arts plus breakout panel on Contemporary Blackface (June 14 at 4pm PT) with Dr. Naomi André, Julia Bullock, Ailyn Pérez, Andrew Stenson, Christian Reif, Soloman Howard, Kenneth Overton, Karen Slack, Brandon Alexander Bell, & John Holiday, including performances by Julia Bullock, Solomon Howard and John Holiday; To IG or Not to IG - Opera in the Age of Social Media (June 21 at 4pm PT) with Aaron Crouch, Zach Finkelstein, Catalina Cuervo, Simon Barrad, and Kseniia Polstiankina; and 'Till the Fat Lady Sings - Opera and Body image (June 28 at 4pm PT) with Tracy Cox, Kyle Albertson, Frederick Ballentine, & Joanna Ceja. All Conversations will include a featured speaker, panel discussion and live and pre-recorded performances.

Jennifer Rivera, C.E.O. of Long Beach Opera, said, "While we are all struggling with the new normal of remaining socially distant, the virtual nature of this new set of conversations will allow artists and activists from all across the United States to come together for these important discussions and inspiring performances. Although we are apart, we must keep finding ways to come together through art, and one of LBO's most successful engagement events returns next month to do just that."

All conversations will take place LIVE on Long Beach Opera's Facebook channel, and will be archived following the discussion at Although the events will not be held in person, the live virtual nature of the events will allow even more participation as audience members can comment in real time on the discussions.


Equity and Diversity in the Arts + Roundtable ADD-ON: Contemporary Blackface
Sunday, June 14 - 4pm PT
Featured Speaker: Dr. Naomi André
Moderator: Dr. Derrell Acon
Panel: André, Julia Bullock, Ailyn Pérez, Andrew Stenson
Performers: Julia Bullock/Christian Reif, Soloman Howard
Roundtable: Dr. Derrell Acon (moderator), Dr. Naomi André, Kenneth Overton, Karen Slack, Brandon Alexander Bell

Dr. Naomi Andre is associate professor in women's studios, the Department of Afro-American and African Studies (DAAS), and the associate director for faculty at the Residential College at the University of Michigan. She received her BA in music from Barnard College, and MA and PhD in musicology from Harvard University. Her research focuses on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Her books, Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement, Blackness in Opera, and Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera, explore constructions of race, gender, and identity.

To IG or Not to IG; Opera in the age of Social Media
Sunday, June 21 - 4pm PT
Featured Speaker: Aaron Crouch
Moderator: Dr. Derrell Acon
Panel: Crouch, Zach Finkelstein, Catalina Cuervo
Performers: Simon Barrad/Kseniia Polstiankina, Aaron Crouch

Tenor Aaron Crouch, a native of Bowie, Maryland, is a fourth-year student at the Curtis Institute of Music.
His prominent roles include Prunier in La Rondine, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore, and The Son in Blue, which he debuted in the 2019 world premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival. Mr. Crouch has been awarded the Gold Medal at the YoungArts Foundation competition, First Place in the Sue Goetz Ross Competition, and First Place in the Classical Singer Vocal Competition. In 2018, he received an encouragement award at the Premiere Opera International Vocal Competition.

Till the Fat Lady Sings; Opera and Body Image
Sunday, June 28 - 4pm PT
Featured Speaker: Tracy Cox
Moderator: Dr. Derrell Acon
Panel: Cox, Kyle Albertson, Frederick Ballentine, Joanna Ceja
Performers: Frederick Ballentine, Joanna Ceja

A Dallas native, Tracy Cox has been hailed by the Washington Post as an "impressive" soprano, LA Weekly called her a "force of nature," and Arts in LA described her voice as "opulent, dramatic, and expressive, with a golden sheen that is nothing short of breathtaking." An alumna of Los Angeles Opera's Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, she made her professional debut with the company in the role of Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro under the baton of Plácido Domingo. Other roles include Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Pisana in I due Foscari, the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Alice Ford in Falstaff. Ms. Cox is a recipient of many prestigious prizes, including those from the Sullivan Foundation, the George London Foundation, the Operalia Competition, the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Opera Index Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at

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