The work of the young artists of Opera D’Arte has always surprised me for both its immense promise and its accomplished results. Now we all look forward to more surprises in their upcoming staging of ALBERT HERRING.

The opera is Benjamin Britten’s third, written and performed in 1947 in the wake of the success of Peter Grimes and The Rape of Lucretia, and, while similarities between all three of these works are many, the singularly comic Albert Herring stands alone in Britten’s output as a gem of a comic chamber opera.

Britten’s flair for writing elegantly and idiomatically for the voice is present here as it is in all his work. So is the recurring theme of the rejection or suspicion of difference. Britten, at first a closeted homosexual and later an openly gay man living a visible public life in England during and after WWII, “writes himself” into this chamber opera and laughs at himself and at uptight Merry Old England, as embodied by the prejudiced community of a forgotten backwater.

Young Albert Herring forces the townspeople of East Sussex to accept his “oddity” by disappearing overnight on a drunken binge. With the coming of morning, a compromise is achieved and Albert can now carry on with the rest of his life.

Kenneth Shaw directs a cast of more than a dozen singers and Jesse Leong conducts.

Tickets become available this coming Monday, January 30 at noon. They are free and limited to two per party, but must be secured in person from the CCM box office or by phone (513 556 4183). Word to the wise, these tickets go fast.

Performances: February 3 and 4, at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 5 in the intimate Cohen Family Studio Theater at CCM.


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