LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Long Beach Opera is finding new ways to connect with concert-goers.

Bernardo Bermudez is a singer. He was supposed to be in LBO’s production of Frida. Then the pandemic forced the company to cancel three-fourths of this season’s productions.

LBO is planning a normal 2021 season, but even that’s not guaranteed.


“That’s the hardest part is just not knowing. If we knew that there’s no performances for 18 months for anyone I think that would, in a certain way, be easier because we would just plan that way, but that is not the case and of course we want people to come together as soon as they can because it’s going to be necessary," said Jennifer Rivera, the Executive Director and CEO of LBO.

"People are going to need it. They’re going to need the performing arts and need to be with other human beings and hear live performances to sort of heal from this experience."

In the meantime they’ve created LBO online, a new way to watch artists and their families.

LBO has also promised to pay all their artists at least 50 percent of their fees no matter what. Usually artists like Bermudez only get paid if they perform.

The company is asking patrons to donate their tickets instead of getting a refund or exchange. LBO is at about 75% of its goal to raise $70,000 in ticket donations and additional contributions for its Artists Support Fund.

More than 85% of the people who have contacted the LBO box office so far have elected to turn their tickets into donations, rather than seek a refund or exchange.

“Basically all the money that’s coming in whether it be a ticket that’s turning into a donation or a donation are going directly to pay the artist first, and then we’ll figure out how we’re going to survive after that,” said Rivera.

This is a game changer.

“It’s such an amazing thing what they’re doing… At least we have one person that is saying, OK we’ll take care of you,” said Bermudez.

LBO plans to announce its 2021 season in May.

Starting the week of May 4 LBO is launching Artist Afternoons, a series of livestreams from artists on weekdays starting at 4:00 p.m.

You can check out these live presentations each day on LBO's Facebook page.