‘Unforgettable’, ‘moving’, ‘gripping’ – just some of the superlatives used to describe David Bruce and Glyn Maxwell’s new opera Nothing, which premiered at Glyndebourne last week.
Nothing is the latest opera specially commissioned by Glyndebourne to be performed on its main stage by amateur performers from the local community.
Over 40 teenagers from Glyndebourne Youth Opera performed alongside five professional singers, while Southbank Sinfonia mentored talented young instrumentalists, who played with them in the orchestra pit.
What the critics thought
Highlights from the reviews for Nothing include:
The Independent – ★★★★★
‘Glyndebourne’s education department has always been the brand-leader for youth opera, and still is: David Bruce’s Nothing is a pretty well flawless piece’
The Observer – ★★★★★
‘Brilliantly drilled by the conductor, Sian Edwards, and the director, Bijan Sheibani, the entire company gave a highly professional and gripping performance.’
The Stage – ★★★★★
‘There could hardly be a stronger testament to Glyndebourne’s education work, which began 30 years ago, than this compelling and unsettling opera.’
From the response on social media, it’s clear that the audience were equally impressed.
glyndebourne</a> Amazing performance tonight, professional, mature, funny, thought provoking, emotional and downright brilliant <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NothingOpera?src=hash">#NothingOpera</a></p>— Evelyn (evelyn_prodger) February 26, 2016
#NothingOpera was incredible tonight
glyndebourne</a> Well done <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/education?src=hash">#education</a> team. Thought provoking. Thinking about group mentality now.</p>— Lucy Bailey (Lucyandrina) February 26, 2016
Just seen #NothingOpera
glyndebourne</a> Beautiful haunting melodies, impressive singing from young cast & great to see <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BYO?src=hash">#BYO</a> players in the pit</p>— Emma Collins (emmavcollins) February 27, 2016
Absolutely fantastic production of ‘Nothing’ last night from— Peeteer (@Peeteer) February 26, 2016
glyndebourne</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/SouthbankSinf">SouthbankSinf. Imaginative music, fantastically sung!
So proud of everything that “Nothing”
glyndebourne</a> is. EVERY opera house in the world should be doing this piece Performed exquisitely.</p>— Matthew Rose (roseandfriends) February 27, 2016
The view from the stage
Nothing made a strong impact on its performers too. Professional mezzo-soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons played Ursula.
Delighted with the huge positivity for #Nothingopera
glyndebourne</a>. 'Does Nothing end?' I hope not, as it really IS something</p>— Marta Fontanals-S (MartaFontanals) February 28, 2016
Countertenor James Hall, who played Johan, found the ideal GIF through which to express his admiration for the teenagers from Glyndebourne Youth Opera.
So proud to have been in #Nothing
glyndebourne</a>, total privilege to work w/ some really quite talented young people. <a href="https://t.co/GUlV3EM6xf">pic.twitter.com/GUlV3EM6xf</a></p>— james hall (jdahall) February 28, 2016
And one of those young performers, Kitty Casey, is pictured celebrating the opera’s success with creators Glyn Maxwell and David Bruce in a tweet sent by her mum.
5* Nothing=Experience of a lifetime! Thank u
glyndebourne</a> Ed Dept & <a href="https://twitter.com/glynofwelwyn">glynofwelwyn &
davidbruce</a> from Little mermaid <a href="https://t.co/AASlwtAfQF">pic.twitter.com/AASlwtAfQF</a></p>— Tammy Casey (KCandGC) February 28, 2016
A film recording of Nothing will be streamed for free on the Glyndebourne website from 6-8 May 2016 to celebrate European Opera Days 2016. Watch here.
Did you see Nothing? Leave a comment below and let us know what you thought.