St Albans composer creating fireworks at the Royal Opera House

Composer David Bruce

Composer David Bruce - Credit: Archant

A CELEBRATED composer’s latest production opened at the Royal Opera House yesterday, complete with indoor firework displays.

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by St Albans musician David Bruce is based on a Philip Pullman novel and follows a little girl’s quest to discover the secret of becoming a firework-maker, despite her father’s disapproval.

It is the first opera the 42-year-old has put on at the Covent Garden venue and he admits he is “very excited” following successful showings of the chamber piece in Hull and Huddersfield.

The “magical opera”, which David created with poet Glyn Maxwell, has already received rave reviews and he describes it as very colourful and family friendly.

Guests of the show are treated to three big firework displays courtesy of imaginative stage-trickery, something which David said he “had to have a go at”, as well as puppetry and fairytale characters.

The website of the famed Opera House claims the show is characterised by infectious energy and spirited humour, while David added: “It’s a wonderful production. It’s a lot of fun and has got a lot of laughs and surprises. It’s really enjoyable and a really great and inspiring story.”

The award-winning composer moved to St Albans in 2000 as he and his wife were looking to start a family but still be close to London, settling in the Highfield estate area.

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Now they have 10-year-old Kaja and six-year-old Oskar, who are both at Fleetville Primary School and were apparently “quite good guinea pigs” to test the show on.

American-born David has been working in composition and music for quite some time: “I’ve been a composer since my childhood when I was at school and used to write for the school orchestra in Cheshire.”

His piece Fire was commissioned last year to celebrate the cultural Olympiad and the 2012 London Olympics, and featured a huge circle of choristers.

The father-of-two also enjoys success on the other side of the pond, and is associate composer of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra for the 2013/2014 season, during which time he is set to write three pieces. In addition to this he has had several commissions at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Although in high demand around the world, the former Royal College of Music student still enjoys his current home town: “There’s quite a good music community in St Albans. I go to stuff at the Cathedral quite a lot.”

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter is at the Royal Opera House until April 13 before it travels to Watford Palace Theatre for May 17 and 18.