Pittsburgh Opera is offering a taste of what the personal audience will see with a free livestream of their current production, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird.
The performance will be streamed on Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the opera’s Facebook page and on the YouTube channel.
“Yardbird” played in front of a small, socially distant live audience on April 10th and 13th. Seats for these performances, as well as those on Friday April 18 and April 20 and the following, were sold out.
“Charlie Parker’s Yardbird is about a larger than life person who was also very human,” said Chris Cox, the opera’s director of marketing and communications.
The legendary American jazz saxophonist, known as “Yardbird” or simply “Bird”, was a leading figure in the development of the bebop form of jazz.
“The personal and social challenges he was confronted with are with us to this day. He had to deal with racism. He had to deal with temptation, ”said Cox. “The fact that he was able to create such an enduring musical legacy despite these obstacles is really impressive.”
The Pittsburgh Opera summarizes the work as follows: “While the body of the legendary tormented saxophonist Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker lies unknown in a morgue in New York City, his mind travels back to Birdland, the famous New York jazz club that was named after him . As he strives to complete his final masterpiece, the great bebop innovator revisits the demons, inspirations and women who fueled and hampered his creative genius. “With the help 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 The gig is over forever. ”
Tenor Martin Bakari sings the title role. Yazid Gray is Gillespie and Jasmine Muhammad approaches Addie Parker. Antony Walker conducts the opera with music by Daniel Schnyder and libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly. The director is Tomé’s cousin.
“Jazz is often referred to as America’s original art form. Not only was it invented in the US, it combines democracy with individualism and self-expression in a uniquely American way, ”said Cox. “For example, a jazz band plays together, but each member has their own chance to play solo and improvise.
“Few people have influenced this art form as much as Charlie Parker. He was a true titan, an innovator who took jazz to new places. Charlie Parker was a rock star in every way, ”he said. “Unfortunately, like other rock stars like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, the negatives of the rock star lifestyle caught up with him and he died before his time (at 34).”
The opera’s patrons were grateful for the live performances, said Cox.
“Not only did the audience enjoy the performance itself, but they were also very grateful for just having a live performance. For some of them it was the first live indoor event they had attended in over a year, ”he said. “We received compliments and gratitude for our extensive security protocols that allowed the show to go on.”
The free live stream is sponsored by UPMC. Visit pittsburghopera.org to register for an email reminder for the livestream and to unlock the official pre-opera program book and podcast.
Shirley McMarlin is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter.