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Customer Review

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.
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