Albert Herring

Benjamin Britten

12 January - 2 March 2024

This event has passed.

May Day is looming, and the small town of Loxford is in chaos.

All the potential May Queens are deemed morally unsuitable. Desperate, the locals decide a May King will have to do instead. They choose the blameless Albert Herring, from the greengrocers. He isn’t keen, but stuck firmly under his mother’s thumb, he’ll do what he is told. However, after one rum-laced lemonade at the May Day ceremony, Albert disappears, and even greater chaos ensues.

The opera’s librettist Eric Crozier took a story by Maupassant and transformed it into a quintessentially English comedy. Britten’s music characterises the town’s inhabitants with a biting satirical wit – but there’s a touch of affection, too, for a vanished way of life. The intimacy of the Howard Assembly Room is the perfect environment for Giles Havergal’s delightfully immersive production.

“slickly staged and delightfully played”
★★★★ — The Guardian

“immersive and intimate fun… a real success”
★★★★ — The Arts Desk

Albert Herring will be streamed online via our partners at OperaVision.

From £25

Running time
Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes including one 20 minute interval

Sung in English

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Scene 1: The vicar Mr Gedge, the schoolteacher Miss Wordsworth, the police superintendent Mr Budd and Mr Upfold, the mayor of Loxford, gather at the home of Lady Billows to discuss who should be chosen as this year’s May Queen. Numerous girls are ruled out as morally unsuitable by Florence Pike, Lady Billows’s housekeeper.

Eventually, the idea of a May King is proposed and accepted. The suggested candidate is Albert Herring who, with his mother, runs the local greengrocer’s shop.

Scene 2: Sid, who works in the butcher’s shop, encounters Albert at the greengrocer’s. The arrival of Sid’s girlfriend Nancy makes Albert nervous and uncomfortable. Later, the committee calls at the shop to inform Albert of his election as King of May. Albert is indifferent to the honour and the accompanying cash prize of £25. His mother, by contrast, is delighted.

Scene 1: At the May Festival, Sid and Nancy lace Albert’s lemonade with rum. He is duly crowned King of the May and, stumbling over his speech of acceptance, is struck by hiccups.

Scene 2: Later that evening, Albert returns home, elated by his success and by the effects of the drink. Overhearing Sid and Nancy talking about him outside the shop, he contemplates life beyond the confines of his current existence. Tossing a coin, he decides to go out and enjoy himself. When his mother comes back she hears no sound from Albert and concludes that he must already be asleep.

By the following afternoon Albert is still missing and it is presumed that he has met with a fatal accident. His eventual reappearance upsets those who are prematurely mourning his death. Albert gives a brief description of his night of debauchery. Finally he confronts his mother and asserts his independence and authority.


Audio introduction

This audio introduction gives detailed information about the story, the sets and costumes, the cast list, and the dates and venues of the performances.

It is to aid customers who are blind or partially sighted. Please note, the story and the details of the sets and costumes contain spoilers, so avoid them if you would prefer not to know what happens!

A large print transcript of the audio introduction is available to download.

Cast & creative

A man wearing a waistcoat and smiling.
Dafydd Jones

Albert Herring

A woman with blonde hair.
Judith Howarth

Lady Billows

Claire Pascoe

Mrs Herring

A woman with dark hair wearing earrings.
Heather Shipp

Florence Pike

A man with short hair wearing a stripey shirt.
William Dazeley

Mr Gedge

Paul Nilon
Paul Nilon

Mr Upfold

A woman with curly dark hair resting her head on her hand.
Amy Freston

Miss Wordsworth

Richard Mosley Evans
Richard Mosley-Evans

Superintendent Budd

A man with short curly hair and a black t-shirt.
Dominic Sedgwick


A woman with earrings.
Katie Bray


A woman with long hair stood in front of a tree.
Rosa Sparks


Image of conductor Garry Walker
Garry Walker

Conductor (EXC. 20 JAN)

Black and white headshot of David Cowan
David Cowan

Conductor (20 JAN)

A man with short white hair wearing a shirt and jacket.
Giles Havergal


A woman with short dark hair and stuff earrings.
Elaine Tyler-Hall

Associate Director

Leslie Travers

Set & Costume Designer

A man with glasses and a short beard.
John Bishop

Lighting Designer

A man with a light beard wearing a t-shirt.
Tim Claydon

Movement Director

Albert Herring

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