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Britten's 'Albert Herring' a Fun-Filled Opera

Bienen School of Music’s spring opera to be performed May 17 to 20 at Cahn

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April 19, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera “Albert Herring” -- a light-hearted satire of English country life at the turn of the 20th century -- will be staged by Northwestern University Opera Theatre this spring.

With a libretto by Eric Crozier, the production will conclude the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music’s 2011-12 opera season.

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20 at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St. on the University’s Evanston campus.

Set in the spring of 1900, Britten’s three-act opera tells the story of Albert Herring, a reticent young grocery clerk who is chosen as May King, when none of the local girls in the town are pure enough to be elected Queen of the May.

“Albert Herring” will be performed in English by Bienen School undergraduate and graduate voice students accompanied by members of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. It will feature stage direction by Michael M. Ehrman and music direction by Christopher Zemliauskas and assistant music director Christopher Ramaekers.

Ehrman has directed operas throughout the nation, including Wolf Trap Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chautauqua Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. He is the founder and co-artistic director of the Opera Training Institute of Chicago and serves as artist-in-residence and director of opera at the Bienen School of Music. Ehrman will make his Ravinia Festival debut in August 2012 as director of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

Music director Zemliauskas is the assistant musical director of the opera program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has studied with artists Margo Garrett, Warren Jones, Karl Paulnack and Martin Katz.

Assistant music director Ramaekers conducts the Hyde Park Youth Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Vincent’s and is music director at the Community Christian Church in Lincolnshire, Ill. He holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern, where he studied with Victor Yampolsky, director of orchestras.

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit www.pickstaiger.org. To order tickets, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000 or visit www.pickstaiger.org.
Topics: Campus Life