Charlie Parker's Yardbird 2024 Cast
Charlie Parker - Martin Bakari
Praised by Opera News as a "vocally charismatic" performer with a "golden tenor,” Martin Bakari's recent engagements include the title role in Charlie Parker's Yardbird (Atlanta Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, New Orleans Opera, Dayton Opera), the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana (Cecilia Chorus of NY at Carnegie Hall, Symphony San Jose), the premiere of Paul Moravec’s A Nation of Others (Oratorio Society of NY at Carnegie Hall), Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance (Virginia Opera), Pong in Turandot (Opera Colorado), Jalil/Wakil/Guard in the premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns (Seattle Opera), Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro (Seattle Opera, Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival), Goro in Madama Butterfly (Dallas Opera), Prince Claus in Mark Adamo's Becoming Santa Claus (Chicago Opera Theater), Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville (Intermountain Opera Bozeman), The Cartography Project (Washington National Opera, The Kennedy Center), and a United Kingdom recital tour (Mirror Visions Ensemble). Internationally, he has also appeared at major venues in Munich, Hamburg, Dresden, Frankfurt, Cologne, Tel Aviv, and Bari. Mr. Bakari's 2023-24 season includes Mime in Das Rheingold (Seattle Opera), the tenor soloist in Messiah (Oratorio Society of NY - Carnegie Hall), Dr. Caius in Falstaff and Wilson (cover) in the premiere of Jake Heggie's Intelligence (Houston Grand Opera), Charlie Parker in Yardbird (Indianapolis Opera), and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance (Kentucky Opera). A 2018 George London Competition award winner, Mr. Bakari's recording of Grigory Smirnov's Dowson Songs (Naxos) was featured by Opera News as a "Critic's Choice" album.
Addie Parker - Angela Brown
Soprano Angela Brown’s multi-genre career has been lauded on the front page of The New York Times, CNN, CBS, in Oprah Magazine and Reader's Digest. With classical and pops engagements spanning six continents, Angela has graced the leading opera and symphonic stages of the world.
Her vocal artistry is featured on the two-time Grammy Award® winning recording “Ask Your Mama.” Her voice is the inspiration for new works including a symphonic song cycle and two principal opera roles. American composer Richard Danielpour set the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou to create the work “A Woman’s Life” that Angela has performed with Pittsburgh Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra and recorded for the Naxos label with Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The opera roles of Addie Parker in Daniel Schneider’s Charlie Parker’s Yardbird and Cilla in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner were both written for, premiered by, and reprised many times by Angela.
Angela’s most recent endeavor is the founding of Morning Brown, Inc., a nonprofit with the mission of bridging the gap between accessible, live-music programs and underserved individuals, schools, and communities. Drawing on the success of Angela’s groundbreaking show, Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View©1997, Morning Brown, Inc., works to bring cultural experiences and awareness to cultural deserts. She is the co-host of Melanated Moments in Classical Music, an award-winning podcast from Classical Music Indy with an international subscriber base. She is featured in the 2022 PBS documentary on the life of Marian Anderson, The Whole World in Her Hands, produced by American Masters, and in the 2021 PBS documentary on the life of Marian Anderson, Voice of Freedom, a production of the most-watched documentary series American Experience.
Chan Parker - Ashley Fabian
Acclaimed by the New York Classical Review as “a vision of sunshine and joy”, possessing a
“lovely lyric soprano”, Ashley Fabian is quickly garnering recognition for her artistry in both
comedic and dramatic roles. She is celebrated for her “voice of immense warmth and
scintillating spin” (Parterre Box), and her command of the stage has been praised by critics and
audiences across the nation.
This season includes a return to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a concert with Chris Thile at
the Hollywood Bowl, Gilda in Rigoletto with Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera, Händel’s Messiah
with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with San Diego Opera, Chan
Parker in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird with Indianapolis Opera, and several performances as the
Soprano Soloist in Carmina Burana later in the Spring with companies including the
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Bozeman Symphony.
Last season included a cover of the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at Los Angeles Opera,
joining the Columbus Symphony and Utah Symphony as the Soprano Soloist in Carmina
Burana, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Pacific Opera Project, making her Los Angeles
Philharmonic debut in Steve Reich’s Traveler’s Prayer, her Carnegie Hall debut as Phyllis in
Iolanthe with MasterVoices, and Bellezza in Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno with Opera
She has bowed with companies such as Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Des
Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Central City Opera, Charleston
Symphony Orchestra, and Indianapolis Opera. Ms. Fabian enjoys a wide variety of projects on
both the stage and screen, and has won multiple game shows including Wheel of Fortune.
Clinton Smith - Conductor
Clinton Smith returns to Arizona Opera to conduct the world premiere of Frankenstein by Gregg Kallor and will make his Indianapolis Opera debut conducting his fourth production of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. He will lead members of the Atlanta Symphony at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for their annual presentation of Messiah and will serve as staff coach for Atlanta Opera’s young artist program and cover performances of La bohème. He also joins the faculty of Georgia State University as collaborative pianist and vocal coach.
Clinton Smith’s 2022/2023 season included a return to Dayton Opera to conduct Charlie Parker's Yardbird. He returned to Arizona Opera and lead an orchestral workshop of the newly commissioned Frankenstein. On the orchestral stage, he made his guest conducting debut with the Georgia Philharmonic, leading two subscription concerts.
Recent conducting credits include leading productions at the opera companies of Atlanta, Minnesota, Arizona, Kentucky, Florentine, Birmingham, Dayton, Tacoma, Las Vegas, Orlando, Pacific Northwest, Middlebury, and Fargo-Moorhead. He has been a guest faculty at Juilliard, the University of Michigan, Baldwin Wallace University, and Western Ontario University. He spent nine summers on the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera, and four seasons at Minnesota Opera.
On equal footing in the orchestral world, Mr. Smith recently concluded a collective nine years as music and artistic director of both Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers and the St. Cloud Symphony, conducting over 60 orchestral, oratorio, chamber, pops, educational, and holiday concert performances.
Douglas Sumi - Pianist
American pianist, Douglas Sumi, is a frequent collaborator with many of today’s
artists and opera theaters. He is a versatile artist, comfortable in the capacities of
pianist, coach, and conductor, with a recognized commitment to song and opera. He
has assisted conductors such as James Conlon, Patrick Summers, Michele Mariotti,
Daniela Candillari, Evan Rogister, and Emmanuel Villaume. He has collaborated with
celebrated artists such as Renée Fleming, Plácido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman, Carol
Vaness, Vladimir Chernov, Angel Blue, Janai Brugger, and members of the Los
Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and
Boston Symphony Orchestra.
For many seasons Sumi served on music staff at Los Angeles Opera and is an alumnus
of their young artist program. In the summer of 2023, he joined the music staff of Opera
Theatre of St. Louis. He has also worked for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City
Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New Orleans Opera Company, Bard SummerScape, Wolf
Trap Opera Company, Indianapolis Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera Festival, among
Sumi has led singers to top prizes of premiere competitions including Operalia, the
Metropolitan National Council Auditions, BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, and the
Richard Tucker Foundation. While in Los Angeles, he served on faculty at the UCLA
Herb Alpert School of Music and currently is a member of the music staff at Boston
Lyric Opera, while residing on faculty at Boston University’s School of Music, coaching
singers and teaching courses in song literature, lyric diction, and opera for pianists.