“The tenor Lawrence Brownlee, a bel-canto star, sang with classy polish as Parker, showing how close scatting can be to Rossinian coloratura.”
On April 1st, 2016, Lawrence Brownlee gave the New York premiere in the role of Charlie Parker in Yardbird, at New York's Apollo Theater, following his triumph in the World Premiere in Philadelphia last year. Yardbird is composed by Daniel Schnyder with a libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly, co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Gotham Chamber Opera.
This is the first time the Apollo Theater has ever put on opera on its stage, as well as its first partnership with Opera Philadelphia. The Apollo Theater also inducted Charlie Parker to its Walk of Fame to honor his contributions to jazz music and the African-American community.
See below for more critical raves for Larry in this milestone performance!
More Praise for Yardbird:
“The opera is at its best in a series of arias, wide-ranging and frantically fast, in which Mr. Brownlee’s firm training in bel canto sent him vaulting over seemingly impossible vocal hurdles. Even though he’s a fixture singing star parts in Rossini and Bellini operas at the Met, this is by far the most complete and exciting performance of his I’ve heard, a star turn in the very best sense of the word.”
“It’s easy to be hyperbolic about Brownlee, whose perfect phrasing and utterly reliable instrument usually relegate him to (the fittingly named) bel canto repertoire. But what normally constitutes overblown praise could be considered accurate in the case of Brownlee: his voice unfolds in one facile, brilliant line, clean and precise. Perfect.”
“Tenor Lawrence Brownlee, in the title role, had good flights of scat singing, and his sunny tenor voice parallels Parker's effortless lyricism and glistening vibrato that often rose above the mire of his life.”