Herring Hits the Funny Bone

SMU's Meadows School of the Arts' Meadows Opera Theatre and Meadows Symphony Orchestra recently performed Britten’s comic opera Albert Herring. The production ran in Feb.

By Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Dallas — Benjamin Britten's comic chamber opera Albert Herring is rarely produced. One of the main reasons for this is that it is very difficult to find singers for the large cast that physically and vocally fit the roles. Further adding to the problems, the opera is written for a small one-on-a-part chamber orchestra that requires excellent players. Thus,h it is too small for a major opera house but has too large a cast for a smaller company to be able to afford. University opera departments would seem to be a good fit for a production, but they lack singers that are old enough to play some of the characters. So, Albert Herring remains an opera more discussed than seen.
With all this in mind, it was welcome news that the opera department at Southern Methodist University's Meadows Opera Theater was mounting a production this week, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the British composer's birthday (why aren't there more Britten tributes in his centennial year?). In order to give many students a chance to sing the roles, most are double cast....