By Culturekiosque Staff
NEW YORK, 14 FEBRUARY 2014
"They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man,
there's no boundary line to art."
Opera Philadelphia has commissioned a new opera based on the life of
legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker (1920 - 1955), best known as "Bird"
(short for "Yardbird"), one of the most influential soloists in the
history of jazz and a central figure in the development of bebop. American
tenor Lawrence Brownlee will star as Parker in a work written for him by
composer Daniel Schnyder, with a libretto by poet and playwright Bridgette
A. Wimberly. Soprano Angela Brown will costar as Charlies mother, Addie
Parker. Entitled Yardbird, the opera is being developed in
partnership with Gotham Chamber Opera.
Charlie Parkers Yardbird will receive its World Premiere in
June 2015 in the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater,
capping Opera Philadelphias 40th Anniversary Season, which will also
feature the East Coast Premiere of Oscar by Theodore Morrison and John
Cox. Both works are a part of the companys American Repertoire Program, a
commitment to produce at least one American work in each of ten seasons.
"Since launching the American Repertoire Program in 2012, Opera
Philadelphia has been committed to supporting composers who are telling
American stories, and in Charlie Parkers Yardbird we will
chronicle an iconic musician whose triumphs and tragedies are truly
operatic," said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera
Philadelphia in a recent press announcement. "Daniel Schnyder and
Bridgette Wimberly are crafting a work that captures Charlie Parkers
complex musical genius and troubled life in an engaging an honest way. We
are honored to bring together a diverse group of artists, some of whom are
new to opera, to create a work that will expand the boundaries of operatic
music through the influence and infusion of Parkers music."
The opera will be conducted by Corrado Rovaris, Opera Philadelphias
Jack Mulroney Music Director, who first met Schnyder in 2011. "I was taken
with his compositional style," said Rovaris, who suggested Schnyder
consider composing a piece for Brownlee. "When Daniel listened to Lawrence
Brownlee, he immediately likened the color of his voice, the virtuosity of
his singing, and his technical command to that of Charlie Parker. Thus,
the idea for the opera was born."
Bird Lives Fifty Years After
Editor's Pick: World premiere of Terence Blanchard's 'Champion',
an Opera in Jazz