At its best moments John Cox’s staging of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring is superfluous, adding little to the Opera Australia winter line up.
Set in the small market town of Loxford in 1900, the libretto by Eric Crozier centres around an elderly autocrat, Lady Billows (Jacqueline Dark) who desperately tries to revive May Day celebrations. However, no Queen of May can be found and officials decide to crown the town simpleton Albert Herring (Kanen Breen) as the King of May.
Samuel Dundas proves once more he is a leading man, as Sid, a simple butchers hand. While Dominica Matthews steals the show as Florence Pike, Lady Billows’ housekeeper, commanding attention whenever on stage.
Sets lack vibrancy and lighting choices were questionable. The echoing beat of the drums proved to be memorable.
Fans of Britten’s work will find much to enjoy here, but with a winter lineup of bustling, extraordinary productions, this could easily be overlooked. (LD)
Until Aug 30, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Pt, $44-306, (02) 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com