Albert Herring

Albert Herring, Benjamin Britten’s fast-paced, clever, and hummable opera, will transport audiences to the 1950’s in a riot of scrumptious costumes, devastating satire, and charming slapstick.

Vancouver Opera, in tandem with Pacific Opera Victoria will bring this well-loved satire to The Queen E Theatre for four performances only: November 30, and December 5, 7, and 8. Directed by Glynis Leyshon, Albert Herring stars Soprano Sally Dibblee as Lady Billows, the interfering autocrat in charge of the May Day festival where the “Queen of the May” will be crowned. Ms. Dibblee was last seen on the VO stage as Pat Nixon in Vancouver Opera’s 2010 Canadian premiere of Nixon in China.

Albert Herring Cast

Tenor Lawrence Wiliford – an internationally recognized Britten specialist – makes his VO debut as Albert Herring, the hapless young man crowned as King of the May when no ladies of suitable character can be found for the honour.

Baritone Aaron Durand and mezzo-soprano Sylvia Szadovszki sing Sid and Nancy, the mischievous couple responsible for spiking Albert’s lemonade with a generous amount of rum. Mr. Durand last appeared on the VO stage recently as Sciarrone in Tosca. Ms. Szadovszki sang a delightful Papagena in VO’s acclaimed First Nations-infused The Magic Flute last season.

Leslie Dala

VO’s Associate Conductor and Chorus Director Leslie Dala will lead the VO Orchestra.

Director Glynis Leyshon is one of Canada’s most respected opera and theatre directors. In addition to serving as Director of Pacific Opera Victoria, she’s served as Head of the Opera as Theatre Programme at The Banff Centre, and Artistic Director of both Victoria’s Belfry Theatre and Playhouse Theatre Company.

Albert Herring composer, conductor, and pianist Benjamin Britten was born in 1913 in Suffolk, on the east coast of England. He composed a number of works, including orchestral and chamber pieces, but is best known for his operas and his compositions the War Requiem and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. 2013 marks Britten’s 100th birthday.

In total, Britten wrote 15 operas, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Billy Budd, The Rape of Lucretia, The Turn of the Screw and Death in Venice, but he catapulted to international fame in 1945 with his second opera, Peter Grimes.

Albert Herring cast

Albert Herring was composed between 1946 and 1947. The libretto, by Eric Crozier, was based on the Guy de Maupassant short story, Le Rosier de Madame Husson. It premiered at the Glyndebourne Festival in June 1947 and was intensely disliked by the owner and founder of the festival, who is reported to have greeted audiences with the words “this isn’t our kind of thing, you know.” Almost 40 years later, the festival’s 1985 production of Albert Herring was one of the most successful the opera has ever had.

Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria Present Albert Herring
Dates: November 30, December 5, 7, 7:30 pm; December 8, 2 pm
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Georgia and Hamilton Streets, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online, at the Vancouver Opera Ticket Office, or via phoning 604.683.0222

Photos by David Cooper, courtesy Pacific Opera Victoria.

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