No fool, but his mother's mixture of contemptuous bullying and adoration of him have made him extremely shy and awkward - especially when faced with strange people or situations. Florence, the housekeeper, is clearing away breakfast things for one on to a tray. The text of her instruction is quite indistinct except for the last three words. Florence continues dusting and tidying.
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Thank you. This opera is a hoot even without the libretto but even funnier with. Sunday, June 10, Britten: Albert Herring full libretto. It was first associated with Glyndebourne, but this relationship gave rise to problems connected with touring The Rape of Lucretia , and in the early days of the fully independent English Opera Group was finally established.
Albert Herring 's premiere in 20 June at Glyndebourne was not a success. A year later, in June , the Aldeburgh Festival was set up, and Albert Herring was the first opera performed there, in the Jubilee Hall. Herring returned to Glyndebourne in in an acclaimed production by Peter Hall, which was televised, and in the same production was presented at Covent Garden.
A complete recording with Peter Pears as Herring and Britten conducting was made in Among the extant 6 recordings , I've only heard these two. And I am not alone. More about this in the next post. For this purpose I have included the full libretto below, for my personal use only. Voice type.
Lady Billows, an elderly autocrat. Florence Pike, her housekeeper. Gedge, the vicar. Upfold, the mayor. Superintendent Budd. Sid, a butcher's shophand. Nancy, from the bakery. Herring, Albert's mother. Emmie, village child. Time: April and May Place: Loxford, a small market town in East Suffolk , England.
Housekeeper Florence Pike is run ragged. Her mistress Lady Billows is organizing the annual May Day festival, and has gathered all the important people of the village to vet nominees for the coveted position of Queen of the May. But Florence has dug up dirt on every single girl nominated, proving that none is worthy to wear the May Queen's crown. Lady Billows is depressed.
Superintendent Budd suggests that the solution may be to select, this year, a May King instead of a May Queen. He knows of a young man in town who is as certainly virginal as the girls are not: Albert Herring. At the greengrocer's, Albert is teased for his timidity by the easygoing Sid. Sid's girlfriend Nancy comes in to do some shopping, and the couple shares a tender moment while Albert eats his heart out.
The lovers leave, and Albert reflects on his miserable existence under his mother's thumb. The Festival Committee arrives with the news of his selection as May King. Herring is thrilled, Albert less so. Mother and son quarrel, to the mocking commentary of the village children. It is the day of the festival. Sid and Nancy are preparing the banquet tent, and they take the chance to slip some rum into Albert's lemonade glass.
Albert is tongue-tied at the feast in his honor, but drinks his lemonade greedily, which Britten satirically illustrates with a quote from Richard Wagner 's Tristan und Isolde. That night, Albert arrives home alone, quite drunk. In the street, Sid keeps a date with Nancy, and the two discuss their sympathetic pity for Albert before going off together. This is finally the breaking point for Albert. He takes the prize money and heads out looking for adventure. The next morning Albert has not returned, and the village is in a panic.
Superintendent Budd is leading a search, while the guilt-stricken Nancy tends to Mrs. A boy shouts that a "Big White Something" has been found in a well, and the village worthies file in to break the news en masse that Albert's crown of flowers has been discovered, crushed by a cart.
Clearly, he is dead. A lengthy threnody of grief is interrupted by the surprise return of Albert. He thanks the Festival Committee for providing him with the cash for his night out. They, in turn, are outraged by his tale of drunken debauchery, and leave in a huff. Albert finally stands up to his mother, and invites the village kids into the shop to sample some complimentary fruit.
No fool, but his mother's mixture of contemptuous bullying and adoration of him have made him extremely shy and awkward - especially when faced with strange people or situations. Florence, the housekeeper, is clearing away breakfast things for one on to a tray. The text of her instruction is quite indistinct except for the last three words. Florence continues dusting and tidying. No reply Flo - rence!
Florence hurries back to the hall to listen. Make him tear it up! She comes back into room, fetches a small household book and pencil and notes her latest instructions. Doctor Jessop's midwife Call at Primrose Cottage Must stop William making such rude noises, or else Buy a breakfast cup Mittens for Mr Pilgrim Did they say how many from the almshouse wanted copies of the Bishop's sermon?
No more poppies in altar vases Vicar must warn choirboys Each day some New idea Makes new demands Upon her sense Of charity.
But oh! Sometimes I wish As she is about to expand freely, Florence is interrupted by a knock at the door. She straightens her cap and apron and goes to open it. Her Ladyship's expecting you I'll say you've come. We're very punctual by that clock. The clock chimes the half-hour. Exactly right by mine.
Never known it Dust in the works. That hedge of rosemary is humming with bumblebees! Promises a splendid May and June. The flowers appear on the earth Most essential! Hear, hear! I have great hopes. Practical measures! She's here! Her Ladyship! Lady Billows appears at the top of the stairs and walks heavily and deliberately down. She crosses unexpectedly to the window and pushes it open.
As she turns to greet her visitors, her eye flickers accusingly across the Mayor and Superintendent. Tobacco stink! Nasty masculine smell! ALL Good morning, my Lady! Glad to see it. Early worms! Lady Billows crosses with heavy deliberation to the table and seats hersel f. Notebook, Florence! All know why we're here.
Libretto: Albert Herring
Albert Herring , Op. Composed in the winter of and the spring of , this comic opera was a successor to his serious opera The Rape of Lucretia. After having composed and staged The Rape of Lucretia , Britten decided he should attempt a comedy, preferably set in England. The opera premiered on 20 June at Glyndebourne , conducted by the composer.
Albert Herring Libretto