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UW-Eau Claire University Theatre to
Present Comic Opera 'Albert Herring'

RELEASED: Feb. 16, 2009

"Albert Herring" graphicEAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department will present the comic opera "Albert Herring" at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-28 and March 5-7, with a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. March 8 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

"Albert Herring" is a comic chamber opera performed in three acts and composed by famed British composer Benjamin Britten. The libretto is by Eric Crozier after a short story by Guy de Maupassant. The opera sets out to explore society's reaction to an out-of-the ordinary individual. "Albert Herring" is a coming-of-age adventure about a simple English grocer's lad who has been unwittingly selected as Loxford's first-ever May King. When the village do-rights — the formidable Lady Billows, her "investigative" housekeeper Florence, the curmudgeonly Police Superintendent Budd, the prim school mistress Miss Wordsworth, the uppity Mayor Upfold and the blessedly normal Vicar — are unable to identify a suitable young lady to be crowned the annual May Queen, they approach the virtuous and timid Albert, who grudgingly accepts at the insistence of his overbearing Mum. At the May Day coronation, after a lifetime of doing as he is told, Albert finally breaks the apron strings and shocks the town simultaneously with the help of his friend Sid and some "fortified" celebration punch. Britten's contemporaries say that the title character is, in fact, a satirical self-portrait of the composer. The opera premiered June 20, 1947, at Glyndebourne in East Sussex, England, with Britten as conductor. The opera is performed in English.

The cast for "Albert Herring" includes freshman Joe Aumann, Hartford, singing the role of Mr. Gedge, the Vicar; junior Elisabeth Cejpek, Viola, as Mrs. Herring; sophomore Alicia Fitchett, Green Bay, as Jennifer Searle; and junior Jonas Hacker, Lake Delton, as Mayor Upfold. Freshman James Held, Waukesha, is the naughty boy Tom Hood; sophomore Brooke Johnson, Little Canada, Minn., sings Cis; junior Tara Metcalf, Eau Claire, is Emmie; senior Kevin Newell, Edgar, is Albert Herring; and senior Angela Nieman, Milwaukee, is Florence Pike.

Sophomore Laura Petricka, Owatonna, Minn., is Harry; freshman Anthony Reed, Alexandria, Minn., is Superintendent Budd; sophomore Meagan Seubert, Eau Claire, is Elizabeth Newell; senior Lauren Tompkins, Eau Claire, is Lady Billows; and senior Allison Wells, Eau Claire, is Miss Wordsworth. Senior Emily Worzalla, Madison, plays the role of Winifred Brown and Nicole Wolf, La Crosse, is Amelia Keats. Andrea Fuss, Waupaca, sings the role of Nancy, and Ryan Metcalf, Eau Claire, is Sid. The cast is rounded out by freshman Koryna Flores, Prairie Du Sac; senior Rachael Bejin, Eau Claire; sophomore Stephanie Kass, Cedarburg; senior Megan Hoffman, Shawano; and junior Laura Deshane, St. Louis Park, Minn., as the May Day Dancers.

"Albert Herring" is directed by Mitra Sadeghpour, associate professor of music, with senior Sarah Jean Lanners, St. Paul Park, Minn., as assistant director. Daniel Newman, associate professor of music, serves as music director, and Nobuyoshi Yasuda, associate professor of music, is the conductor of the University Symphony Orchestra. Senior Kaysee Schmidt, Balsam Lake, is the stage manager, and senior Sarah Meddaugh, Madison, is the assistant stage manager. Senior Sheena Thompson, River Falls, is production manager, and Mallory Prucha-Rishoi, artist for the music and theatre arts department, is costume designer. Scenic and lighting design is by Kevin Gawley. Senior Stephanie Schmidt, St. Croix Falls, is the rehearsal pianist and will play the piano part in the orchestra.

Tickets, available at the University Service Center in Davies Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-8932, are $12 for the general public, $10 for those 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, $8 for children 17 and younger, and $3 for students with a university ID. Tickets for all campus events also are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The Haas Center ticket outlet is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is closed during holidays and academic breaks.

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KJ/NW

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