UNL Opera to perform Albert Herring in November

Albert Herring, presented by UNL Opera under Director William Shomos
Albert Herring, presented by UNL Opera under Director William Shomos

UNL Opera to perform Albert Herring in November

18 Oct 2013    

Time is a glutton, time is a thief.

Youth must challenge him as he flies…

This line from Benjamin Britten’s delightful comedy, Albert Herring, is the perfect summation of the opera’s message: Time passes inexorably -- seize the day while you can! The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Opera will be performing Albert Herring on November 8 and 10 in the Glenn Korff School of Music Kimball Recital Hall.

The village dignitaries of a small English community gather to select a young lady of impeccable virtue to be this year’s May Queen---but it turns out that not a single girl in the village qualifies! Albert Herring, the shy green-grocer boy, is the only young person of either sex to have the requisite virtue to merit the honor.  But is Albert up for becoming May King?  Or is he ready to break free??  What will happen when Albert’s friend Sid spikes Albert’s lemonade at the crowning ceremony?!? This gleeful comedy pokes fun at society’s mores in this delightful coming of age story.

“We have a marvelous youth-filled cast of graduate and undergraduate performers, brimming over with talent and unbridled enthusiasm,” Director of Opera William Shomos said. “In the title role is second year graduate student Matthew Clegg.  So many times during rehearsals, I’ve thought to myself that here is someone born to sing this role. I know our audiences are going to fall in love with his portrayal of the young Herring boy.

“As Albert’s foil, 3rd year DMA student Talea Bloch plays Lady Billows.  You will remember her lovely interpretation of Alexandra Bergson in last year’s O Pioneers!.  Well, get ready for something completely different this time around.  Talea takes no prisoners as she lets loose in her portrayal of the domineering matriarch of Loxford, bound and determined to have her own way.  Britten’s music is notoriously difficult, but our wonderful cast has been having a blast bringing his comic masterpiece to life.”

The orchestration of Albert Herring calls for a small chamber group. With each player acting as a soloist in their own right, the score is challenging, but immensely rewarding for its instrumentalists.  UNL’s Philharmonia will be in the pit under the baton of Tyler White.

This is also a very special year for Benjamin Britten fans, as it marks the centenary of the composer’s birth.  It can be argued that Britten is the greatest composer of opera in the English language.  His successful operatic career began in 1945 with Peter Grimes, and includes such towering masterpieces as Billy Budd, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Rape of Lucretia, and Death in Venice, among others.  Opera companies the world over have produced Britten’s works in even greater abundance this year to celebrate his birthday. 

“UNL Opera is happy and proud to be a part of that celebration with this production,” Shomos said.  

So, don’t let time get away from you! Seize the day and order your tickets now for UNL Opera’s production of Albert Herring.  You don’t want miss it. The performance on November 8 is at 7:30 p.m., while the performance on November 10 is at 3 p.m. Tickets are now available at the Lied Center Box Office, 402-472-4747, Adults $20; Students/Seniors $10.