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“A triumphant combination of words and music, creating the best operatic comedy of the last century”

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Composed by Benjamin Britten

Britten’s operatic comedy, written in 1947 with witty English libretto by Eric Crozier was freely adapted from a short story of stifling village life and rebellion “Le rosier de Madame Husson” by Guy de Maupassant.

Director Michael McCaffery and conductor Philip Sunderland will join forces with set and costume designer Bettina John and lighting designer Steven Benson to create a new production of Benjamin Britten’s hilarious portrait of English village life, which celebrates the best of British opera and offers the best possible showcase for rising stars.

Set in a fictitious Suffolk village of Loxley, Albert Herring is an obedient son who, in the lack of any virtuous female candidates for May Queen, gets crowned May King instead, and after drinking rum-laced lemonade escapes for a night of revelry and rebellion. The May coronation selection committee – the local Superintendent, the Mayor, the teacher and vicar – all terrorised by the autocratic local grandee Lady Billows. The teasing and flirtations of courting couple Nancy and butcher’s boy Sid fuel Albert’s determination to break free.

The World premiere of Albert Herring was mounted by the English Opera Group at Glyndebourne on 20 June 1947, conducted by Benjamin Britten with the idea to establish a permanent ensemble dedicated to creating and developing English opera.

Britten was in his thirties when he set this classic coming of age story to music on his return from America in 1946. Humour highlights the prejudice, intolerance and conformities of class within small-town England in the 1940s and its suffocation of young people needing to break free and find themselves. Director Giles Havergal (Opera North) said of the piece, “We associate the breaking out of youth with the 50s and Look Back in Anger, but it was already in the air. People like Britten knew what was going to happen.”

Brittens’ score for Albert Herring is said to contain some of his most moving, honest and staggeringly inventive music. Peter Hall described the moment near the end of the piece when everyone briefly believes Albert has died to be “one of the most shatteringly emotional bits of music in all opera”. The brilliant threnody is a parody of a great operatic outpouring of grief. Britten’s real genius is his seamless melody, the lyricism of the score and the wit of the music, which is genuinely funny in itself.

“A dazzling operatic comedy in the great tradition of Rossini and Donizetti. A triumphant combination of words and music, creating the best operatic comedy of the last century” – Director Michael McCaffery
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The Company

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Daniel Kringer – Albert

Daniel Kringer is a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, University of London, hailing from Skaneateles, NY, USA. At the Academy, Daniel studied voice with Raymond Connell; participating in productions with Royal Academy Opera (Snout, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Almaviva, Il Barbiere di Siviglia Scenes – B. Hurley), Vocal Faculty Opera Scenes (Alfredo, La Traviata, Tom, The Rake’s Progress – P. Sunderland), and collaborating on recital programs with fellow students. Outside of Academy, in London and in the United States, Daniel has enjoyed engagements with organisations such as Imperial College London Choir, Philharmonia Symphonic Chorus, St.-Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Paul’s Opera, Berkshire Opera Festival, Syracuse Opera Co., and Illuminati Vocal Ensemble. In his spare time, Daniel is an avid cyclist, rock climber, sailor, and dog-lover! Originally trained in the States as a school music teacher, Daniel moved to London in 2019 to pursue classical vocal performance, and is very excited to now be pursuing performing opportunities both in the UK and abroad.
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Flora Birkbeck – Florence Pike

Flora Birkbeck is a mezzo soprano from Essex. She will begin studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Opera School this September, generously supported by the RCS Scholarship Trust. She is currently finishing her Master’s of Music under Elizabeth McCormack at the RCS. Flora obtained her Bachelor’s with First Class Honours from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2019, where she studied with Mary Plazas. Operatic engagements include Woodcutter Boy in Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algeri scenes, Cornelia in Guilio Cesare Scenes, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte scenes, The lady with the hat box in Postcard from Morocco scenes, Tisbe in La Cenerentola scenes, Annio in La Clemenza di Tito scenes, and chorus in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne and Handel’s Theodora with RNCM Opera. Contemporary opera roles include Romy/Marlene for Eldad Diamant’s M.D.R.S., and principal roles in the premieres of five operas with MCYO. Flora looks forward to creating Steph in Pierre Flasse’s L’Art pour L’Art next year.
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Erin Rossington – Lady Billows
Welsh soprano Erin Gwyn Rossington is on the Opera Course studying with Susan Waters, having previously gained a 1st class honours at the RNCM. In 2019, she won International Voice of the Future at Llangollen Eisteddfod, the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize at the RNCM and the Audience Prize at the Clonter Opera Prize 2022. She isgenerously supported by The Countess of Munster Trust, Ryan Davies Memorial Fund and Help Musicians UK. Her opera roles include; Rosalinde, Contessa, Micaëla and Marguerite. Erin performed Maguelonne in GSMD’s production of Viardot’s Cendrillon in December 2021 and the title role in Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune this spring. This summer she will perform the False Angéle in Weill’s Der Zar lässt sich photographieren at GSMD and make her debut at the Alburgh Festival as Ina in TIDE. Erin is one of four daughters, brought up on her family farm in North Wales. She is thrilled to be back at Clonter.
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Rosalind Dobson – Miss Wordsworth

Rosalind is a first-year student in the Alexander Gibson Opera school at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she studies under Wilma MacDougall. She is a Sybil Tutton Opera Award Holder and is generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Kathleen Trust. She is a grateful recipient of a scholarship from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Trust. Rosalind studied English Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, before completing her Masters in Vocal Performance at the Royal College of Music in 2018. She is an Associate Artist of the New Renaissance Collective theatre company. Recent operatic roles include Controller (Flight, RCS, 2022), Gretel/Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel, British Youth Opera, Holland Park, 2021) and Abigail Williams (The Crucible, Berlin Opera Academy, 2019). Rosalind has performed in masterclasses with Brindley Sherratt, Ann Murray and Josephine Barstow, and is the 2022 winner of the Ye Cronies Opera Award.
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Jordan Harding-Pointon – Mr Gedge

Jordan will take to the stage at Clonter for the first time this summer, however, his face may be familiar to audiences. Having first discovered opera at Clonter, Jordan went on to study Music at the University of Manchester followed by a Master’s in voice at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Matthew Best, graduating with distinction in 2021. Career highlights to date include performances with Opera Holland Park, Buxton Festival Opera and Opera Rara. Previous stage roles, including Silvio Pagliacci, Herald The Pilgrim’s Progress and Dr. Falke Die Fledermaus, indicate Jordan’s versatility as a performer, with an affinity for music spanning Italian opera, lieder, English song and classic musical theatre. Later this summer, Jordan will join If Opera to sing the role of Maggiordomo in La Rondine and as am ensemble member in Dido and Aeneas.
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Jack Roberts – Mr Upfold

Jack trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutorage of David Pollard. Since leaving college, Jack has gained a wealth of experience on the operatic stage. Roles include Rodolphe in Gounod’s La Nonne Sanglante (for which he is a finalist in the Off West End Award for best opera performance) for Gothic Opera, Almaviva Il barbiere di Siviglia for Barefoot Opera, Nanki-Poo The Mikado for Charles Court Opera, Satyavan Savitri for Hampstead Garden Opera, Lensky Eugene Onegin and Don Ottavio Don Giovanni for Opera Loki, Fe-ni-han Ba-ta-clan for West Green House Opera. Jack has worked with Royal Opera, Garsington Opera, Grange Park Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, and has just sung Lensky in Opera Holland Park’s 2022 Young Artists’ Production of Eugene Onegin.
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Lydia Shariff – Mrs Herring

Lydia Shariff is a British mezzo-soprano currently undergoing postgraduate study at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama with full scholarship, under the tutelage of John Evans. Despite being based in London, Lydia has worked as a soloist across the UK, Europe and in Asia. A soloist with repertoire spanning from Bach to Berio, Lydia is accomplished in both classical and jazz repertoire, and has performed as a soloist in venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Bridgewater Hall, and at The Barbican Centre. Lydia has been fortunate enough to have received significant young operatic training in recent years from companies such as The Glyndebourne Academy and British Youth Opera. Past operatic roles include: Carmen Carmen, Ursule Béatrice et Bénédict, Madame de la Haltière Cendrillon, Third Lady The Magic Flute, Ismail’s Crew Member The Angel Esmeralda (premier), 1st Witch Macbeth, Mrs Peachum The Beggar’s Opera. Lydia’s upcoming projects include a recital in Milton Court Concert Hall, the role of Carmen in Opera Scenes, and she is very excited to be debuting at Clonter Opera.
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Frances Gregory – Nancy

British mezzo-soprano Frances Gregory is a recent graduate of Royal Academy Opera. This season she sings Laura in the world premiere of Tom Coult’s Violet for Music Theatre Wales/Aldeburgh Festival/ROH at Hackney Empire, Claudio in Handel’s Silla for Northern Opera Group, and she was also a member of the Glyndebourne chorus for their 2021 Autumn tour. During 2020/21 she was a studio artist with the Opéra National de Lyon and an emerging artist at Longborough Festival Opera, where roles included Maman La Tasse Chinoise, La Libellule L’enfant et les sortilèges and the Fox and Dog The Cunning Little Vixen. She is a former Alvarez Young Artist at Garsington Opera and was one of Laurence Cummings’ Handel House Talents for 19-21; for her performance as Sycorax in The Enchanted Island with British Youth Opera in 2018, she was awarded the Patrick Fyffe/Dame Hilda Bracket Award from Sadler’s Wells.
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Thomas Chenhall – Sid

Award-nominated baritone Thomas recently graduated from his Master’s Degree at the Royal Academy of Music, under the expert tutelage of Raymond Connell, where he has been supported by the Charlotte Fraiser Foundation, The Mario Lanza Educational Trust and the Royal Academy of Music. Recent engagements include Malatesta in Hurn Court’s productions of Don Pasquale, Il Conte in Hampstead Garden Opera’s productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, along with Gala Concerts for Nevill Holt Opera, London City Orchestra and Manor Opera. Thomas also returned to the Dorset Opera Festival to play Masetto in last summers production of Don Giovanni. Thomas was also in the Live Finals for the IV Eva Marton International Singing Competition in Budapest.
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Thomas Stevenson – Superintendent Budd
Aspiring baritone Thomas Stevenson trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, completing a Masters in Vocal Performance in 2020. He has sung in amateur and professional productions of oratorios, operas and choral works since 2010, last year a part of the Chorus in Random Opera’s Elisir D’amore. He hopes to continue his forays into the professional world of singing for the rest of his life, and is grateful for any opportunities helping further this pursuit.
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Michael McCaffery – Director

Michael McCaffery has directed in opera houses and theatres across the world for more than thirty years. His productions have been seen in major theatres in this country and abroad, including Glyndebourne, Bayreuth, Opera Comique, Paris, Volksoper, Vienna, Garsington, Wexford Festival, the National Theatre Tokyo, the Halle Handel Festival, in North and South America and the Middle East.  He also writes and has produced a series of acclaimed features and documentaries for RTE Radio and BBC Radio 4 where his adaptation of the Matchmaker was nominated for a Sony Comedy Award. His association with Clonter also goes back many years, which includes his production of Faust 2014.
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Philip Sunderland – Music Director & Conductor

Philip was born in Norwich and educated at the Cathedral School. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio, Philip began his professional like as a repetiteur, working for all the major opera companies in the UK.  This led to many conducting opportunities, first with English Touring Opera, for whom he conducted Marriage of Figaro, Cenerentola, Pearl Fishers, Daughter of the Regiment and Cosi fan tutte. In 1999, having worked as an assistant conductor at Opera North, Philip was appointed Chorus Master, a role he performed for five years. Whilst working for Opera North he conducted La traviata and the company’s acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd, as well as numerous concerts including the Brahms’ Requiem in York Minster. Philip has continued to conduct for ETO, winning an Olivier Award for Paul Bunyan in 2015 and returned the following year with Tales of Hoffman. He was music director to Swansea City Opera and W11 Opera for Young People and Chorus Master at the Bregenzer Festspiele. In 2014 he was commissioned by the Saffron Hall to write an opera for over 200 schoolchildren, professional singers and orchestra. The Glass Knight was first performed in the Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden in March 2015.  Advent Calendar, a setting of biblical texts and a poem by Ronan Williams, was premiered in St Mary’s church, Saffron Walden in 2018. Philip is delighted to return to Clonter Opera, having conducted Rigoletto in 2009, a particularly exciting time as his son was born prematurely during the final stage and orchestra rehearsals! Philip is currently Head of Preparatory and Vocal Faculty Opera at the Royal Academy of Music, for whom he conducted Cunning Little Vixen in 2019.
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Bettina John – Set & Costume Designer

Bettina John is an international set and costume designer for theatre, opera, dance and music originating from Germany, where she graduated from a fashion design degree in 2007 from Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein. After having worked as a costume designer and maker as well as an educator and mentor for aspiring designers, she enrolled in a master program in theatre design at Wimbledon College of Art, from which she graduated in 2018. As well as working as a set and costume designer, Bettina John develops and presents work at the intersection of visual and performing arts, often outside the boundaries of the theatre space.
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Performances

Thursday, 14 July (Public Dress Rehearsal)

Never been to an opera before? Why not come to Albert Herring’s public dress rehearsal, which includes a pre-performance talk, given by the director.

Tickets £20, Students £10, Children (under 16) £5

Doors Open 6pm

Director’s Talk 6.30pm

Performance Starts 7pm

Interval 30 minutes. The audience is welcome to bring a pre-performance picnic

Performance Ends Approx. 10.30pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Saturday, 16 July (Filmed)

Tickets £42, £57, 63, £68, Students & Children (Under 16) £15

Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) Available until 30 April

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

Doors Open 6pm

Director’s Talk 6.30pm

Performance Starts 7pm

Interval 70 minutes

Performance Ends Approx. 11.10pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Sunday, 17 July (Matinee)

Tickets £23, £33, £38, £43, Students & Children (Under 16) £15

Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) Available until 30 April

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

Doors Open 2pm

Performance Starts 3pm

Interval 30 minutes

Performance Ends Approx. 6.30pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Tuesday, 19 July

Tickets £32, £47, £52, £57, Students & Children (Under 16) £15

Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) Available until 30 April

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

Doors Open 6.30pm

Performance Starts 7.30pm

Interval 30 minutes. The audience is welcome to bring a pre-performance picnic

Performance Ends Approx. 11pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Thursday, 21 July

Tickets £42, £57, 63, £68, Students & Children (Under 16) £15

Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) Available until 30 April

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

Doors Open 6pm

Performance Starts 7pm

Interval 70 minutes

Performance Ends Approx. 11.10pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Saturday, 23 July

Tickets £52, £67, £73, £78

Early Bird Ticket (10% Discount) Available until 30 April

Group Discount (10% Discount) 10+

Doors Open 6pm

Performance Starts 7pm

Interval 70 minutes

Performance Ends Approx. 11.10pm

N.B. For this performance, and going forward, any drinks consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Drink Arrangements – Starting in May, the bar will be under new management, and all drink consumed inside the premises must be purchased from the bar. These may be ordered in advance.
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Book Now Thursday 14th July - Public Dress Rehearsal

Book Now Saturday 16th July

Book Now Event Menu Sunday 17th July MAT

Book Now Tuesday 19th July

Book Now Thursday 21st July

Book Now Saturday 23rd July

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