13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2008
"Albert Herring" was the first of Britten's full length operas that I ever bought, when I was 16 and studying "Noye's Fludde" for a school examination; and at the time, this recording (in its original vinyl LP version) was the only one available. The transfer to CD works well enough, I've no problems with that. (I'm not sure what the sleeve picture of Peter Pears and Ben Britten buying vegetables from, I think, Jonah Baggott in Aldeburgh High Street has to do with the opera, but there you go.) However, much as I admire the work of Peter Pears, he is the wrong person for the role of Albert. He sings the role well enough, as one would expect, but he sounds too mature: listening to him in this recording, I could perhaps envisage Albert as being in his mid 30s, but certainly no younger. He fails to come across as a repressed young man firmly under his mother's finger.
That said, I have no other reservations. I would buy this for its historical significance, as a performance conducted by the composer, and because it is genuinely a delightful performance. However, to get the full flavour of the opera, its plot and its humour (which is a bit dated and so needs to be handled with care) I prefer John Graham-Hall's Albert and Alan Opie's Sid in the DVD performance conducted by Bernard Haitink.
on 29 October 2014
A delight from start to finish. Though full of local colour and atmosphere, it transcends its setting to become a true comic masterpiece to rank with Mozart or Die Meistersinger.
Having shown us the grim side of Aldeburgh life in Peter Grimes, Britten had fun with its parochial aspects in this comic opera, a tale of a mother-dominated shop assistant elected May King because of his virtue, and who is slipped a laced drink at his crowning and goes off for a night on the tiles, after which he asserts himself. For some tastes, it's proved too parochial; some who otherwise admire the composer are repelled by its self-regarding whimsicality. The possible cure for these people is to listen to Britten's own recording, here marvellously transferred to CD and showing again what a genius the producer John Culshaw was.
Britten finds all the humour in the piece, but he gives it a cutting edge and is totally successful in conveying the proximity of comedy to tragedy in the remarkable ensemble where Albert is thought to have been killed. With the English Chamber Orchestra on peak form, all kinds of Bergian echoes in the score are revealed and some, too, of Verdi's Falstaff (Act 3). There's also Peter Pears's brilliant performance as Albert, a genuine piece of perceptive singing-acting. The cast is well nigh ideal. If only Britten had written more comic operas!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2012
i am very satisfayed. the disc conditions are perfect ,the box is in good conditions and the arrival in in the term