2012-13 season

The Music of Albert Herring

February 7, 9, 15, 2013, at 8 pm
Matinée February 17 at 2:30 pm

Here's a taste of the delights of Albert Herring, an effervescent comedy by Benjamin Britten, brimming with musical shenanigans and sly commentary

Albert Herring is a work of genius in terms of comedy. By virtue both of the text and the music Britten wrote for the characters, you know who they are within seconds of their appearance on stage both because of their dramatic function and because of the lineaments of music that Britten has cloaked them in. The music is not complicated. It's extremely tonal, it's very tuneful and yet it's quite subtle.
Timothy Vernon, Artistic Director, Pacific Opera Victoria


 

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Act 1, Scene 1. Has anyone heard of a King of the May?

The dignitaries of Loxford have convened to select a Queen of the May. But the autocratic Lady Billows has rejected every single candidate; she is convinced that all the girls in town are trollops and that Loxford is the Sodom and Gomorrah of East Suffolk.

Finally Police Superintendent Budd broaches the possibility of appointing a King of the May. He even has someone in mind – a bashful geek named Albert Herring, who works in his mother's greengrocery.

Has anyone heard Of a King of the May?
. . . Maybe it seems a rum sort of notion
But it might help us out of the present commotion. . .

Dale Travis as Budd, Christine Brewer as Lady Billows, Jill Grove as Florence Pike, Celena Shafer as Miss Wordsworth, Jonathan Michie as the Vicar.
From a 2010 production of Santa Fe Opera, directed by Paul Curran and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.


 

 

Act 1, Scene 2. Meet me at quarter past eight

At the greengrocer's, rakish Sid buys a couple of peaches for his girlfriend Nancy, and the two arrange to meet later that evening. Albert watches in awkward embarrassment as Sid and Nancy flirt and Sid sings of flavouring their kisses with the peaches.

You can bring them tonight and we'll each take a bite,
To flavour our kisses with a dash of peach bitters...
Meet me at quarter past eight In the street, don't be late
Or I'll whistle Under your window.

Joshua Hopkins as Sid, Kate Lindsey as Nancy, and Alek Shrader as Albert.
From Santa Fe Opera's 2010 production with director Paul Curran and conductor Sir Andrew Davis.


 

 

Act 2, Scene 1. Seated upon my right is Albert Herring

At the May Day ceremony, the bombastic Lady Billows introduces a mortified Albert as the new King of the May.

Seated upon my right is Albert Herring...
A young man chosen, marked out, set apart
For honest worth and purity of heart.
You see that in the costume he is wearing...
Virgin white and orange blossom crown.

Christine Brewer is Lady Billows, with Alek Shrader as Albert.
From Santa Fe Opera's 2010 production with director Paul Curran and conductor Sir Andrew Davis.


 

 

Act 2, Scene 1. Albert the Good!

The speeches are done, and Albert has been presented with his prize – 25 sovereigns and a two-volume set of Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

The coronation ceremony culminates in a rousing chorus of Albert the Good! Long may he reign! To be re-elected Again and again. Albert then raises his glass and calls three cheers for her Ladyship.

From Santa Fe Opera's 2010 production with director Paul Curran and conductor Sir Andrew Davis.


 

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