Jan. 17, 2012 — Every three years, CSUB's music department produces a cultural offering that is rare for Bakersfield: a live opera. This Feb. 3 and 4, community members are invited to enjoy this year's opera, the comedic "Albert Herring."
The opera was composed in 1946 by Benjamin Britten with a libretto by Eric Crozier and based on a short story by Guy de Maupassant. Britten's idea was to write an opera that could be performed by a small company with modest means, said Peggy Sears, head of Voice Studies at CSUB and director of the production.
"It's an ensemble opera with 13 characters, all with important parts, and 13 orchestra members, each playing a different instrument. This, plus the fact that it is a coming-of-age story, makes it perfect for our small, mostly undergraduate program at CSUB," Sears said.
Set in England at the turn of the last century, the story pokes fun at a town tradition to select the most virtuous girl as Queen of May Day. Realizing there is no pure enough female in town to receive such an honor, the event organizers settle on crowning a King, a timid grocery boy who lives under his mother's rule. But the award only serves to awaken the boy's thirst for adventure, and scandal ensues.
The musical composition is challenging, Sears said. But the students learn the art of opera throughout their education at CSUB and enjoy the chance to inject their personalities into the music.
"The opera theatre is supposed to be for those students who want to be stretched to their fullest," Sears said. "They must sing well while moving about the stage purposefully and creating a character. And with Britten, they must do all this while singing music that is as challenging as anything regularly performed on the opera stage. The audience will hopefully not even notice the difficulty of the music."
After the resounding success of the musical production of "Chicago" last spring, "Albert Herring" will further demonstrate to the community that CSUB is a strong, vibrant player in the local performing arts scene.
CSUB presents the comedic opera "Albert Herring" by Benjamin Britten, directed by Peggy Sears and conducted by Ronald Kean, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4, in the Doré Theatre at California State University, Bakersfield, 9001 Stockdale Highway. A pre-performance lecture will be held in the Albertson Room at 7:15 p.m. on opening night. Admission at the door is $15 general, $10 seniors and students, and $5 CSUB students with ID. For more information, call 661-654-2168.
For more information:Peggy Sears
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications