A segregated hotel. Saxophonist Charlie Parker has just died in the room of a married Baroness. While she tries to stem a media storm, Parker’s ghost appears in a fantastical version of the infamous NYC jazz club Birdland with the aim of composing a last musical masterpiece before the news of his death breaks.
A pioneering improviser, Parker can’t pin the notes onto the page without revisiting those who have inspired his creative genius: the women who loved him, his partner in the jazz revolution: Dizzy Gillespie.
A jazz-infused bebopera about deferred dreams and redemption, with music by Daniel Schnyder and libretto from award-winning African American poet Bridgette A. Wimberly, Yardbird is as bold in its artistic vision as Parker was himself. In a commission from acclaimed Opera Philadelphia and accompanied by the English National Opera Orchestra, Lawrence Brownlee stars as the legendary saxophonist, showcasing the effortless, improvisational style that makes him one of the world’s most sought after tenors.
‘Brownlee gives a performance of remarkable vocal and dramatic integrity’
‘Brownlee, normally known for his Rossini roles, was on outstanding form. ‘
‘A moving tribute in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird’
‘You would be hard-pressed to find a new opera sung with more verve or virtuosity’ ★★★ The Times
‘Lawrence Brownlee, outstanding as Parker, captures the emotional extremes of a musical genius pushing at artistic and social boundaries.’
‘Angela Brown is equally commanding as Addie, the strong mother unable to protect her son either in his native Kansas City or New York.’
‘This production was simply stupendous’
‘Richly detailed and passionately performed opera about a man who ‘got dreams’, and fulfilled so many of them’
‘Supporting cast are all first-rate & Lawrence Brownlee – the Rossini tenor who was the work’s inspiration – his charismatic vocalism holds everything together with magnificent authority.‘
‘This highly accessible work offers an engaging and melancholy study of Parker’s life and legacy.‘
‘Lawrence Brownlee commands the stage in the title role’
£ 75 – £ 15 (plus £1 per ticket online, £1.25 per ticket over the phone)
Running time: 1hr 30mins (no interval)
Performed in English with English supertitles