OPERA Albert_Herring_SW13_110

Opera Australia’s presentation of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, the last of the five operas making up the 2013 winter season, will see the winter season draw to a close at the end of August.

This delightful revival is being performed in celebration of Britten’s 100th birthday, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at Sydney Opera House.  The performance runs for approximately three hours, with two 20 minute intervals.

Since its première at Glyndebourne in 1947, Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring has become a classic.  The libretto, by Eric Crozier, was based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story Le rosier de Madame Husson, but was transposed across the Channel.

The witty libretto and expressive score paints a picture of life in a small British town.  When the girls of Loxford are deemed too immoral to take the title of the village’s virtuous May Queen, the brilliant suggestion is made that they should elect a May King instead.  The hapless grocer’s boy, Albert, is put forward as the perfect example of modesty and good morals.  The shy local lad is thrust into the spotlight, but virtue is easily spoiled when Albert Herring’s mischievous friends enter the picture.  With the aid of some rum and a hefty cash prize, Albert reveals that he isn’t quite the shy lad that everyone assumed him to be.

Keeping us amused were Helpmann award winning performers, Kanen Breen as shy Albert Herring and Jacqueline Dark as Lady Billows, plus Samuel Dundas as the mischievous Sid and Conal Coad playing the pompous Superintendent Budd.

Opera Australia’s Music Director Anthony Legge conducts this original production by John Cox.

Opera Australia presents Albert Herring until 30 August 2013.

Sandra Tiltman 

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