One can easily read between the lines when it comes to the choice of production for the main opera by the Lawrence Batley Theatre in the upcoming autumn season. For many years what they have been offering has been good, even for the box office, and this year there is no exception. The theatre is now being host to the Opera from Mid Wales with Benjamin Britten as the chamber of comedy.
The timing is described as perfect as it is the centenary of Britten’s birth who is one of the important figures in twentieth century classical music in Britain. There are celebrations everywhere and the Opera from Mid Wales pays its respect with an Albert Herring production.
The Mid Wales Company is always welcome to Huddersfield as they are always playing to a packed house. The previous year they did Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the year before it was a play by Puccini namely Madam Butterfly. The Albert Herring short story is one that is based on another story by Guy de Maupassant, a French writer.
The story was then transposed to suit an English environment by Eric Crozier while Britten’s great music made the play a classic. The play is one of Britten’s jewels and the cast has characters that are recognizable for instance the bobby of the village.
The play begins in a sleepy village known as Loxford which is about to decide who will be their May Queen. All the village girls turn out to be a disappointment since none of them seems to be fit for the post. This is when everybody sees the possibility of having a May King instead of May Queen and this king is none other than Albert.
Albert works at the greengrocer’s and he is innocent and pure. This makes him eligible for the position of May King and perfect or so it seems. Then something is slipped into Albert’s lemonade and things don’t turn out right as expected.