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Britten's Deliciously Witty Comic Opera comes to WAAPA

Friday, 16 September 2016


Witty and parodic, combining an evocative score with a darkly funny coming-of-age theme, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring opens on Monday, 10 October and runs until Saturday, 15 October, in the Geoff Gibbs Theatre at Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley.

Albert Herring, a comic opera in three acts to a libretto by Eric Crozier, offers traditional children's songs as well as more serious elements that raise it to a level of wider significance. The opera is loosely based on Guy de Maupassant's story Le rosier de Madame Husson. Like much of Britten's operatic work, it deals with the universal theme of the destruction of innocence, taking a comic look at an extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary boy.

WAAPA is very excited to welcome guest director, Thomas de Mallete Burgess to ECU to work with the Classical Vocal students, Faith Court Orchestra and Production and Design students on this epic production. Thomas de Mallet Burgess is a multi-award winning opera director and a graduate of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University. Opera credits include multiple productions for Canadian Opera Company, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Ireland, Malmö Opera, English Touring Opera and two new community operas for Blackheath Concert Halls London.

De Mallet Burgess is excited to be working with WAAPA again. “WAAPA is an extraordinary institution cast adrift from the cultural life of its country and (in the case of opera) its European heritage. To be producing this work is visionary, brave, ultimately mad.”

A social misfit with the sort of domineering mother few are lucky to survive, Herring is embarrassingly crowned the May King when no suitable young women can be found in the town. When two rebellious young lovers spike his punch, he revolts, disappearing after the celebration and spending all his winnings on a debauched night on the town.

“This is one of the greatest comic operas ever written akin to Le Nozze di Figaro in its social relevance and very of the moment in Australia as we debate the merits of same sex marriage within a macho culture exhibiting similar pressures to those of colonisation.”

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. Don’t miss this spectacular produced opera by WAAPA’s incredibly talented students and staff.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Albert Herring performance web page.


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