Charlie Parker’s Yardbird
Music by Daniel Schnyder; Libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly • May 8, 11, 14, 16, 2021
While the body of the legendary tormented saxophonist Charlie “Yardbird” Parker lies unidentified in a New York City morgue, his ghost travels back to Birdland, the famed New York City jazz club named after him. As he struggles to complete his final masterpiece, the great bebop innovator revisits the demons, inspirations, and women who have both fueled and hindered his creative genius.
With the aid of his strong mother Addie, three of his four wives, and his partner in the bebop jazz revolution, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie will struggle to calm his demons and write his new masterpiece before his body is identified in the morgue and this gig is up forever. Can he do it, or will the demons of his past rear their ugly heads?
Join us on a freeform expedition into the mind, heart, and personal purgatory of the man they called Yardbird.
Martin Bakari: Charlie Parker
TBA: Addie Parker
Maire Therese Carmack*: Baroness Nica
Madeline Ehlinger*: Doris Parker
TBA: Rebecca Parker
The Artistic Team
Conductor - Antony Walker
Stage Director - Ron Daniels
Set Designer - Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Designer - Emily Rebholz
Wig and Make-up Designer - James Geier
Lighting Designer - TBA
Stage Manager - TBA
Asst Conductor - Glenn Lewis
Chorus Master - Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist - James Lesniak
Asst Stage Director - Kaley Karis Smith*
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
Listen to Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn give a brief synopsis of Charlie Parker's Yardbird featuring excerpts from Opera Philadelphia's 2016 Apollo Theater New York premiere recording.
Click play below or download this excerpt for an offline treat!
- “Bebop's Gonna Change the World” - trumpet/instrumental
- “Twelfth and Vine” - sung by Patricia Angela Brown as Addie Parker and Lawrence Brownlee as Charlie Parker
- “Bebop's Gonna Change the World” - sung by Will Liverman as Dizzie Gillespie and Lawrence Brownlee as Charlie Parker
- “Love Sick” - performed by Emily Pogorelc as Chan
- “My Boy is King” - sung by Angela Brown as Addie Parker
- "My Horn" - sung by Lawrence Brownlee as Charlie Parker
- "Farewell" - performed by the cast of the 2016 Apollo Theater New York premiere
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Run time: Tentatively 1 hour, 23 minutes with no intermission
- Understand Every Word: Charlie Parker's Yardbird is sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage at all performances
- Download the Program Book (available spring 2021)
- Download the Yardbird study guide (available spring 2021)
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
- Pre-Opera Talks before each performance
- Audio Description available
- Braille Programs available
- Large-Print Programs available