Stetson Opera Theatre and Orchestra perform together
Stetson University Opera Theatre and Orchestra will perform the Benjamin Britten comic opera, Albert Herring, at DeLand High School Theater Center. Two performances are scheduled: Friday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m.
Albert Herring is set in the imaginary East Suffolk, England, town of Loxford at the turn of the 20th century. The townsfolk, unable to find a suitably chaste May Queen, turn instead to find a May King, and settle on Albert – blameless son of a widowed shopkeeper. Albert tries unsuccessfully to refuse the honor, and a series of humorous events begins at the ceremony after butcher’s assistant Sid laces Albert’s lemonade with rum. Later, armed with his prize money, Albert sets off to find adventure and celebrate his new-found independence.
“Albert Herring is one of the great ensemble operas, requiring strong vocal and musical skills from every member of the cast,” said Craig W. Maddox, Ph.D., associate professor of voice at Stetson University. “From the singers’ point of view, I think this is the most ambitious opera Stetson has presented… I don’t know of another purely undergraduate music program that would even attempt this show,” Maddox said, noting that Stetson will use two completely different casts for each performance because of “the depth of our talent pool” currently at Stetson.
“That is one of the reasons why this show was chosen,” Maddox explained. “It offers wonderful and challenging roles to 20-plus singers. The title character, tenor Albert Herring, is certainly the largest and most challenging role. However, this is an ensemble opera with many scenes involving nearly all of the cast. I’ve jokingly compared this opera’s cast to a football team: Albert is the quarterback, but it takes every player to make this team run effectively.”
This is Britten’s second chamber opera, composed in 1947, and is in keeping with the composer’s favorite subject, the loss of innocence.
“The score contains some of Britten’s wittiest musical invention and his gifts for parody and caricature, already evident in Peter Grimes, are given full reign,” according to the Britten-Pears Library.
Two performances are scheduled: Friday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m., both at DeLand High School Theater Center, 800 N. Hill Ave., DeLand, FL 32724. Tickets are $10 for Adults; $8, Seniors (62 and older); $5 students; no charge for 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased at Stetson.edu/music-tickets.