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Seattle Opera.

Charlie Parkers

February 22—March 7

“The audience practically raised the roof with their applause.”


Music often touches us in a way words cannot, and Schnyder’s score went straight to the heart.”


Music by Daniel Schnyder
Libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly

What if you could realize one last dream before you die? While the body of tormented bebop innovator Charlie “Yardbird” Parker lies unidentified in a New York City morgue, his ghost travels back to the 1940s–50s heyday of Birdland, the jazz club named after him. As he struggles to complete his final masterpiece, the legendary saxophonist revisits the demons, inspirations, and women who have fueled and hindered his creative genius.

“The whole opera is about the dream of Charlie Parker to bridge these two worlds (of classical and jazz music), something that was historically true,” writes composer Daniel Schnyder, who is also a saxophonist and regularly melds jazz and classical idioms in his work. His dreamlike score for 7 voices and 24-piece classical orchestra showcases the unexpected pairing of a flexible operatic tenor with the fluid, improvisational spirit of bebop: a match made in music heaven.

Watch the preview

Charlie Parker

Hear from the creators

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, Madison Opera, 2017 © James Gill

In English with English Subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 90 minutes with no intermission

Please read out latest update on the current King County Public Health recommendations on attending events.

Special Events

Friday and Saturday nights post show live jazz at McCaw Hall

After the Friday and Saturday night performances join us in the grand lobby and enjoy the music of Charlie Parker and other Bebop artists performed by students and faculty of Jazz Ed. Concessions will be available and the lobby open for an hour after the opera concludes.

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