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School of Music produces Classic Comic Opera

School of Music produces Classic Comic Opera

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Media release
3 October 2008

School of Music produces Classic Comic Opera

The vocal studies department of The University of Auckland's School of Music is embarking on a collaboration with the Opera Factory to mount a student production of Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring.

This much-loved comic opera is directed by Linda Kitchen, former principal soprano at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in association with vocal studies coordinator Dr Te Oti Rakena. Albert Herring is being fully produced for performance, with piano accompaniment.

"This wonderful opera centres on the young title character, whose virginity is so widely publicised that he has to do something about it. The opera is also a comic portrait of English village types, from the domineering lady of the manor to the subservient vicar, mayor and policeman. Audiences who associate Benjamin Britten with the tragic themes of Peter Grimes or Billy Budd will be surprised at the deft comic touch of the composer and his librettist," says Dr Rakena.

"Linda Kitchen and I auditioned singers with several operas in mind. It is rare to have the variety of voices needed to cast Albert Herring, but the School of Music voice department is able to provide all the voices needed," says Dr Rakena, who believes the School has found a singer with the perfect voice type for the leading part.

Head of School, Professor Robert Constable, says the University's music students will find Albert Herring invaluable. He says a collaboration with the Opera Factory is an ideal way to showcase the strengths of the School of Music's vocal department.

"We are too small to have an opera department of our own but through Albert Herring, our students will gain important stage and opera experience, including gaining first-hand knowledge of the technical endurance needed to sustain a two-hour opera. Through this project they'll also learn important collaborative skills, and address the challenges of creating a complete role. We are grateful to the Opera Factory for hosting our collaboration," says Professor Constable.

Albert Herring will be performed at the Opera Factory, 7 Eden St, Newmarket. Performances will run Thursday 16 and Saturday 17 October at 7:30pm; and Sunday 19 October at 4pm. Bookings can be made at or by phoning (09) 361 1000. There are concessions for students and seniors.


The University of Auckland's National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries comprises the School of Architecture and Planning, Elam School of Fine Arts, the Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery (CNZARD), the School of Music and the Dance Studies Programme.


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