St Albans composer ready for new production following ongoing success at Royal Opera House

Nothing - opens at Glyndebourne next February

Nothing - opens at Glyndebourne next February - Credit: Archant

A busy few months beckons for St Albans-based composer David Bruce whose family show The Firework Maker’s Daughter is currently wowing audiences at the Royal Opera House.

For no sooner does the run end on January 2 but he will be busy preparing his new opera Nothing for its opening in Glyndebourne in February.

David, who has a growing reputation as as a composer, was nominated for a 2014 Olivier Award for The Firework Maker’s Daughter and it sold out the last time it came to the Royal Opera House in 2013.

The current production is the first revival since and has been received with critical acclaim including from Michael White of the Daily Telegraph who described it as, ‘the most utterly endearing, joyous and delightful show I’ve seen in ages’.

Nothing is based on an award-winning book by Danish author Janne Teller and after Glyndebourne, it is scheduled for a further outing with Danish National Opera in 2017.


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A darker tale than the Firework Maker’s Daughter, it features a class of schoolchildren who try to convince a classmate that life has meaning.

They decide that each of the group must give up an object that means something to the, starting with toys and blankets before escalating to ever more extreme lengths to try and persuade their friend there are things worth caring about.

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David, who studied at the Royal College of Music before doing a PhD at King’s College, London, under the supervision of Sir Harrison Birtwhistle, has been writing opera for a number of years.

He admitted in an interview that he is lucky that he works from home because when inspiration strikes, he can turn his chair around from the computer to the piano.

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