“As “Dizzy Gillespie” in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD - SEATTLE OPERA “The cast, which included a number of Seattle Opera debuts, was consistently strong, both vocally and dramatically. All of the leading roles require considerable athleticism, and each of these outstanding singers delivered impressively...Baritone Jorell Williams played the part of Parker’s best friend Dizzy Gillespie, with whom Parker created bebop. The “Bebop-Freedom” duet, “You are the beep, I am the bop”, in which the two envision the as-yet uncreated bebop sound, was a highlight of the evening, its “message to the people” one that remains relevant. “Freedom!” Williams performed with convincing dramatic comedic skill and great vocal strength; one would have liked to hear more of his mellifluous voice.” "

BACH TRACK on Seattle Opera's Production of YARDBIRD

Jorell Williams has been hailed by Opera News as having “a solid vocal core and easy, natural production” and the New York Times for being “magnificent” and “rich toned”, as well as having “perfect” comedic timing. An American operatic baritone with a wide variety of experience from standard repertoire to premiere pieces, he begins the 2021 - 2022 season with the world premiere of A More Perfect Union with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, Händel's Messiah with the Newfoundland Symphony, followed by the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel in a co-production of The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater, and Die Schweigsame Frau at Bard Summerscape. He will also make his company debut in L’elisir d’amore with Dayton Opera, and will be featured in concert with the Caramoor International Music Festival, Seattle Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Finger Lakes Opera, Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of the North, and Brooklyn Art Song Society. [Last season, he was scheduled to make company debuts with Pacific Opera Victoria in Carmen, and the Cincinnati May Festival in John Adams' I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky. Canceled performances due to Covid-19 will be rescheduled and announced at a later date.]



- Escamillo - 
October 12th - 18th, 2022


What people are saying...

Press, Press, Press


Dizzy Gillespie in “Yardbird” at Seattle Opera

(Photo: Sunny Martini)

"As Parker’s contemporary and friend Dizzy Gillespie, Jorell Williams steals the show with his easy charm and stunning vocals that cut through the music that often overpowers the voices of other cast members. During an overpopulated and conflict-burdened funeral scene that otherwise leaves one unmoved, Williams’ “Farewell” is beautifully delivered and draws one back into the gravity of the scene."


Ricky Ian Gordon

Jorell Williams, Baritone
Christopher Cooley, Piano