The New Victory Theater Presents THE FIREWORK MAKER'S DAUGHTER, Premiering 5/3
Co-produced by the United Kingdom's The Opera Group and Opera North in association with ROH2 and Watford Palace Theatre comes the U.S. premiere of David Bruce and Glyn Maxwell's THE FIREWORK MAKER'S DAUGHTER, based on the novel by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy) and directed by John Fulljames (The Enchanted Pig, New Vic 2010). Featuring performances by New York's Metropolis Ensemble chamber orchestra, led by GRAMMY Award-nominated conductor Andrew Cyr, and a cast of five singers who enliven shadow puppetry designed by Cambridge, England's Indefinite Articles, THE FIREWORK MAKER'S DAUGHTER makes its American debut at The New Victory Theater from May 3 through May 12, 2013.
Co-commissioned by The Opera Group and ROH2, The Firework Maker's Daughter is a new chamber opera based on the novel by Philip Pullman, most recognized for His Dark Materials trilogy: Northern Lights (titled The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Adapted for the Lyric Stage by director John Fulljames, founder of The Opera Group and current Associate Director of Opera for The Royal Opera, The Firework Maker's Daughter tells the story of a young girl named Lila and her quest to master Crackle Dragons, Leaping Monkeys and Golden Sneezes as a firework maker like her father. She tests her talents and gambles good fortune in a fantastical land where animals talk, goddesses reign and imps dwell.
"It feels like the dream book to take as the starting point for an opera," says Fulljames. "It's got a fantastic story; it's full of magical adventure and is ideal for setting to music, which, when you hear it, feels folk-inspired and joyful," he continues. Mr. Fullljames's imaginative staging supports a witty libretto by award-winning poet Glyn Maxwell and an expressive score bursting with color and sparkling with humor by award-winning composer David Bruce, participant of the UK's New Music 20x12 commissions celebrating the Cultural Olympiad and this season's Composer-in-Residence with the Royal Opera House. Also this year, Bruce debuts his fourth Carnegie Hall commission "That Time with You" (2013) for mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor; next season, Bruce will serve as Associate Composer of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, for whom he will write three pieces, including a new work for the orchestra's Carnegie Hall debut in October 2013 and a violin concerto for 2014.
As for visual elements, Balinese shadow puppetry serves as a key inspiration for the Set Design by Dick Bird (The Enchanted Pig), Lighting Design by Guy Hoare (Mischief, New Vic 2011) and Puppetry Design by Steve Tiplady (The Mouse Queen, New Vic 2005) and Sally Todd of Indefinite Articles.
The versatile cast of The Firework Maker's Daughter features soprano Mary Bevan as Lila, countertenor James Laing as Hamlet, tenor Amar Muchhala as Chulak, baritone Wyn Pencarreg as Lachland and bass-baritone Andrew Slater as Rambashi.
Under the direction of Andrew Cyr, Metropolis Ensemble artists appearing include Owen Dalby on violin, Doug Balliett on bass, Sarah Beaty on clarinet, Bridget Kibbey on harp, Stas Venglevski on accordion, Britton Matthews on percussion, Danielle Kulhmann on French horn, Lance Suzuki on flute and Luke Rinderknecht on percussion. Cyr's leadership of Metropolis Ensemble in their first studio album, featuring the music of Avner Dorman, earned him a classical nomination in the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. A multi-faceted musician, Cyr has also collaborated with some of the leading indie rock, jazz, and hip-hop artists of our time, including Questlove and The Roots, David Murray, Deerhoof, and BabX. His latest studio album recorded at Tanglewood for Naxos, Dreamscapes, was recently nominated for a Juno Award for composer Vivian Fung's Violin Concerto.