News & Features

Philip Pullman novel becomes children’s opera in co-production between Opera North and The Opera Group


A new opera for children and families, The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, by award-winning British-American composer David Bruce and librettist Glyn Maxwell, will receive its world premiere in the UK in 2013 ahead of touring dates throughout the UK and a two-week run in New York.

Based on the novel of the same title by children’s author Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), the new two-hour opera is produced by The Opera Group and Opera North, in association with the Royal Opera House and Watford Palace Theatre.

This adventurous re-telling of Pullman’s tale will be directed by John Fulljames and performed by a cast of five singers and two puppeteers. Set in the Far East, the production tells the story of Lila, a young girl who wants to be a firework-maker, like her father. The opera uses a mixture of puppetry and live projection to create magical effects inspired by Indonesia’s shadow puppetry tradition.

David Bruce’s lyrical score draws inspiration from folk and classical traditions from around the globe to create a unique sound world. It will be performed by a chamber orchestra of nine players, from CHROMA, an ensemble well known for their performances of contemporary work. A cast of top singers includes soprano Mary Bevan as Lila and counter-tenor James Laing as Hamlet, the elephant.

The world premiere of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter will be at Hull Truck Theatre on 23 March 2013. It will then tour widely, visiting theatres throughout England and the New Victory Theater, New York between March – May 2013. 

More information, dates and venues can be found here.

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