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by Daniel Hathaway

Albert&MomAfter the Blitz, England needed some comedy, and Benjamin Britten stepped up to provide a good dose of it with his 1946 chamber opera, Albert Herring, which premiered at Glyndebourne in 1947.

Populated with characters who might have stepped right out of Miss Marple’s village of St. Mary Mead, Britten’s three-acter was adapted from a story by Guy de Maupassant and translated from France to Suffolk.

The village is in a tizzy because no candidates for May Queen measure up to the formidable Lady Billow’s exacting moral standards. As a compromise, the village committee decides to switch to a May King and nominates Albert Herring, son of a widowed greengrocer whose apron strings have kept him so tightly bound that he’s oblivious of temptation. Read the rest of this entry »

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by Mike Telin

AllCast_BanquetTableI love Albert Herring because these are my people,” exclaimed Jonathon Field, director of Oberlin Opera Theater, in a recent telephone conversation. “I remember having tea with my grandfather in the little town of Leatherhead in Surrey, England. I know these people inside and out!” On Wednesday, March 12 at 8:00 pm at Hall Auditorium, Oberlin Opera Theater presents the opening night performance of Benjamin Britten’s acclaimed chamber opera Albert Herring.

The opera’s lively tale is filled with comic characters ranging from dully straitlaced to scandalously mischievous. Audience members will find themselves rooting for timid Albert, the most unlikely of heroes, whose secret longing for excitement turns the town upside down. “It’s about knowing you need to make a change in life, and getting that push to actually do it,” Field said, adding that “Britten’s operas always have an oppressed innocent. By the end, Albert sort of tells everybody off and breaks the chains that bind him.”

Composed in the winter of 1946 and the spring of 1947, Britten’s three-act comic opera is set in the English village of Loxford in 1947. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

 

OberlinOperaFledermausIt was clear from the first notes of the overture on Wednesday evening in Hall Auditorium that Oberlin Opera Theater’s Die Fledermaus was going to be a musically distinguished production. Guest conductor Raphael Jiménez and the Oberlin Orchestra (which he regularly conducts in concerts) took brisk tempos and played all the tunes that would come around later with verve and precision, including some wicked violin licks. Jiménez, who has plenty of experience in the opera pit, led a tight performance of the entire operetta, closely partnering singers and infusing the orchestra playing with enough Viennese rhythmic nuance to sound authentic. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

The operahere departments of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music are busy tightening up the final details of their Fall productions, both of which will open on Wednesday evening, November 7. Each school will present four, double-cast performances, Oberlin of Joseph Haydn’s Il mondo della luna (The World on the Moon, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday), CIM of Domenico Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto (The Secret Marriage, Wednesday through Saturday).

Stage directors Jonathon Field (Oberlin) and David Bamberger (CIM) had both aesthetic and practical reasons for choosing the Fall opera titles. “Il matrimonio is a wonderful, delightful piece that I directed once before for Cleveland Opera”, Bamberger told us in a phone conversation, “and it showcases our students well”. Field made his choice in conversation with his colleagues: “Last year the voice faculty became enthused about Il mondo della luna because there are a lot of roles for women. There’s a huge number of sopranos in the department and then an equal number of mezzos, tenors and basses. You need to be sure that you are educating as many students as possible.” Read the rest of this entry »

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STAFF
Daniel Hathaway
founder & editor
Mike Telin
executive editor
Jarrett Hoffman
assistant to the editors

CORRESPONDENTS
James Flood
J.D. Goddard
Jarrett Hoffman
Nicholas Jones
Timothy Robson
Robert & Gwyneth Rollin
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