Albert Herring, Norwich

FRANK CLIFF James Robert Carson's revival for Glyndebourne Touring Opera of Peter Hall's production of Britten's Albert Herring, originally staged in 1985 and one of the most successful productions this opera has ever had, is sheer delight.

FRANK CLIFF

James Robert Carson's revival for Glyndebourne Touring Opera of Peter Hall's production of Britten's Albert Herring, originally staged in 1985 and one of the most successful productions this opera has ever had, is sheer delight.

It also looks wonderful in John Gunter's design with Lady Billows' breakfast room, Mrs Herring's shop and the marquee next to the vicarage all beautifully evocative of the period.

The opera has a richly comic collection of characters even if it does have its darker side, for these villagers of Loxford are capable of exhibiting a third degree of moral hypocrisy.

This is an opera which needs strong casting and this production certainly has it. The singing is superb and the acting equally fine though the Suffolk accents come and go.

The village worthies who gather in Lady Billows' home to discuss the election of a May Queen; vicar, mayor, police superintendent and schoolma'am are beautifully drawn. Rita Cullis was on excellent domineering form as the autocratic Lady Billows. Hal Cazalet as Albert achieves the transition from bullied wimp to Albert the triumphant brilliantly.

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There was excellent playing from the Glyndebourne Touring Opera Orchestra conducted by Richard Farns, though the noisy Theatre Royal audience must have missed the finer points of at least the first interlude.

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