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Albert Herring

A comic opera in three acts

Music by Benjamin Britten

Libretto by Eric Crozier

In this comic opera about a morally oppressive small town, one shy young man discovers that virtue rewarded unexpectedly leads to a night of adventure and freedom, with hilarious consequences.

University Opera Theatre

University Philharmonia Orchesta

Mendelssohn Theatre

March 19 - 22, 2009


The Story: In the small English town of Loxford, a self-appointed May Festival committee meets to elect a May Queen. Alas, to the dismay of the committee, no young woman meets their exacting standards for chastity. The local police superintendent suggests a radical choice, Albert Herring, an irreproachable young man tightly tied to his mother’s apron strings. The committee informs Albert of the honor and his mother (enticed by the £25 prize) railroads his acceptance despite his reluctance. At his crowning, Albert is repeatedly toasted for his virtue by the town – not knowing his friends Sid and Nancy have spiked his lemonade. Under the influence Albert finally gains the courage to taste what the world has to offer. When his mother discovers him missing the next morning, everyone assumes the worst and begins to mourn, only to have Albert triumphantly return from his wild night on the town.

Artistic Significance: Albert Herring was the first opera written by Benjamin Britten for his newly formed company called the English Opera Group. Debuting at Glydenbourne in 1947, Herring combined Britten’s humor and gift for parody in an opera that is quintessentially British. His complicated and challenging score for virtuosic chamber orchestra is filled with arresting rhythms and witty musical invention; especially the threnody (hymn of morning) for nine voices in Act III. A poignant and hilarious coming of age tale, Albert Herring is Britten at his comic finest.




Director Robert Swedberg
Conductor Israel Gursky
Scenic Designer Peter Harrison
Costume Designer Taran Muller
Lighting Designer Rob Murphy
Wig & Makeup Designer Dawn Rivard
Stage Manager

Brett Finley

Production Photos

Click here to view photos from Albert Herring


Click here to view the Albert Herring program

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower