by Daniel Hathaway
Oberlin Opera Theater produced memorable performances of Benjamin Britten’s only comic opera in March of 2014 (pictured). Albert Herring returns to the stage of Hall Auditorium this week for performances from Thursday evening, November 2 through Sunday afternoon, November 5 with a new stage director, a new conductor, and — thanks to the regular turnover of student populations — a pair of new casts. (Click here for tickets.)
Populated with stock British characters who might have stepped right out of an Agatha Christie novel, Britten’s three-acter was adapted by librettist Eric Crozier from Madame Husson’s Rosier, a story by Guy de Maupassant, and relocated from France to Suffolk. The opera debuted in 1947 at Glyndebourne in front of audiences who were grateful for some comic relief after the long slog of World War II.
Here’s what happens.
As the curtain rises, the fictional village of Loxford is in a tizzy because none of the candidates for May Queen measure up to the formidable Lady Billow’s exacting moral standards. As a compromise, the village committee decides to switch to a May King and nominates Albert Herring, son of a widowed greengrocer whose apron strings have kept him so tightly bound that he’s oblivious to temptation. [Read more…]