Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Britten's 100th Birthday Continues in Vancouver; Introducing Aaron Durand

Aaron Durand
The 100th birthday celebration of Benjamin Britten continues with a production of one of his comic masterpieces in Canada. 

Aaron Durand, who last appeared on the Vancouver Opera stage as Sciarrone in Tosca, will be singing the role of Sid in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring with the company.  Durand enrolled at the Victoria Conservatory of Music at age 19 before transferring to the University of Brtish Columbia where he graduated from in April 2013. Durand was awarded the Yulanda M. Farris Young Artist award, which granted him a year's contract with the Vancouver Opera. He is also the winner of the Boxer Career Development Grant from Vancouver Opera and the Ben Hoeppner Scholarship from the University of Brtish Columbia.

The opera opens on November 30 with four performances running through December 8th. The Vancouver Opera had updated their production to the 1950s. Tickets are available online.

Albert Herring was composed between 1946 and 1947. The libretto, by Eric Crozier, was based on the Guy de Maupassant short story, Le Rosier de Madame Husson. It premiered at the Glyndebourne Festival in June 1947 and was intensely disliked by the owner and founder of the festival, who is reported to have greeted audiences with the words "this isn't our kind of thing, you know." Almost 40 years later, the festival's 1985 production of Albert Herring was one of the most successful the opera has ever had.

If Peter Grimes showed the tragic aspects of life, Albert Herring showed its comic side. In it, Britten parodies moral hypocrisy, village fêtes, mayors, vicars, schoolmarms and policemen. Its successful translation in several European countries has broadened the opera's appeal.

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