Charlie Parker's Yardbird

9 Jun - 17 Jun 2017
Charlie Parker's Yardbird 9 Jun - 17 Jun 2017
Friday 9th June
Sunday 11th June
Tuesday 13th June
Thursday 15th June
Saturday 17th June

Hackney Empire and English National Opera present the European Premiere of Charlie Parker's Yardbird

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.

‘A swift-paced chamber opera with a pulsing, jazz-infused score’

The New York Times

‘Lawrence Brownlee commands the stage in the title role’

The Wall Street Journal
Hackney Empire

£ 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


Lawrence BrownleeCharlie Parker
Angela BrownAddie Parker
Rachel SterrenbergChan Parker
Chrystal E. WilliamsRebecca Parker
Will LivermanDizzy Gillespie

Creative Team

Daniel SchnyderMusic
Bridgette A. WimberlyLibretto
Ron DanielDirector
Clark RundellConductor
Riccardo HernandezSet Designer
Emily RebholzCostume Designer
Scott ZielinskiLighting Designer
David ZimmermanWig and Make Up Design

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