OSU School of Music Stages Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring

Listen to the Story

A scene from the 2010 Santa Fe Opera production of Albert Herring.(Photo: youtube.com)
A scene from the 2010 Santa Fe Opera production of Albert Herring.(Photo: youtube.com)

A prim, lovely English village is presided over by a loud, bossy chatelaine. The May Festival is the town’s big day. At a meeting to select this year’s May Queen, it is decided that none of the young girls in the village are vir–er, appropriate.

What to do? Who says there can’t be a King of May?

We meet the hapless mama’s boy Albert Herring. He’s been slipped a few drinks, first time ever, by his buddy Sid, who wants to put some stones, as it were, into his young friend.

The Ohio State University School of Music presents Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring at Mershon Auditorium on Friday, May 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, at 3 p.m. Marshall Haddock conducts and the stage director is A. Scott Parry.

Parry comes to OSU after years of experience with the New York City Opera, Indiana University, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Chautauqua Opera.

Here’s his take on the production of Albert Herring he’s preparing for Ohio State:

[audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2011/parry-for-blog.mp3"]

Benjamin Britten completed Albert Herring in 1947, following the great success of his chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia.

As with Lucreita, Albert Herring used smaller forces as necessitated by the austerity of post World War II Britain and Britten, indeed everyone, was in the mood for a comedy.

Eric Crozier based his libretto on a story by Guy de Maupassant. Herring is an affectionate and funny look at English country life. And British ingenuity comes in, too. If you can’t find a Queen of the May, start looking at the local fellas!

Albert Herring had an early home at England’s Glyndebourne Festival. Indeed, it may be said that the more pompous – if endearing – characters were suggested by Glyndebourne’s owner, Sir John Christie.

Christie loved his Mozart and Wagner and paid all the bills. To the audience arriving for Albert he said, “Oh dear, I’m sure you won’t like it.”

People loved Albert Herring and you will too. Who knows, maybe one day YOU might be crowned King of the May!

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