By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
This article was first published yesterday in the above papers.
Next year will mark the centennial of the birth of English composer Benjamin Britten, and Los Angeles Opera will get a jump on the celebrations when it unveils a new production (well, new to L.A., at any rate) of Britten’s chamber opera Albert Herring on Saturday evening at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Albert Herring is running in tandem with Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, which plays this afternoon at 7 p.m. continues with five other performances through March 4 (LINK). This is a production well worth seeing; my review is HERE.
Tenor Alek Shrader will make his LAO debut singing the title role in Albert Herring; the part was originally written in 1947 for the great tenor (and Britten’s partner) Peter Pears. Albert Herring was the second of three “chamber operas,” so called because each production is on a much smaller scale than “grand opera.” (Britten’s other two chamber operas were The Rape of Lucretia and The Turn of the Screw.)
LAO Music Director James Conlon will conduct Albert Herrin. — he’s also leading Simon Boccanegra. The Albert Herring production originated at Santa Fe Opera and the opera is sung in English with English supertitles. In addition to opening night, performances will be staged March 3, 8 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and March 11 and 17 at 2 p.m.
Tickets range from $20 to $270, with discounts for seniors and students. Goldstar.com was offering steep discounts for all performances but that offer expired in between the time I wrote this column and yesterday when it was printed.
David Mermelstein has an informative article in the Los Angeles Times about this Albert Herring production (LINK). Opera information: www.losangelesopera.com
Running right up against Albert Herring is the latest installment in the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Discover” series at Ambassador Auditorium. For the past several years, Music Director Jeffrey Kahane has picked a single piece to first discuss and then perform. The choice Saturday night at 8 p.m. is one of the landmarks of choral repertoire: Bach’s Magnificat, with a text drawn from the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
Joining Kahane and LACO are The University of Southern California Thornton Chamber Singers, directed by Jo-Michael Scheibe; and five soloists: Charlotte Dobbs, soprano, Zanaida Robles, soprano, Janelle DeStefano, mezzo soprano, Ben Bliss, tenor, and Daniel Armstrong, baritone.
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.