In the small town of Loxford in East Sussex, the old-fashioned autocrat Lady Billows is in a tizzy. She has assembled a committee of the most important people in town to try to find a suitable Queen for their annual May Day Feast, but none of the young women in town are of suitable moral character. It is pointed out that there is one person in town who is virginal, obedient, upstanding, and moral—Albert Herring, the greengrocer’s son. Albert, timid from years living under his mother’s thumb, is crowned the King of the May. What no one expects is that this event will lead to an evening of drunken debauchery for Albert! Benjamin Britten’s only true comic opera, Albert Herring explores the themes of losing innocence, social stratification, Victorian morality, and coming of age, all cast in the setting of the composer’s brilliantly witty chamber score.
Albert Herring guide sections