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Benjamin Britton’s Albert Herring for Royal Northern College of Music. Stage Set and Costume Design

Booth, Lara (2011) Benjamin Britton’s Albert Herring for Royal Northern College of Music. Stage Set and Costume Design. n/a.

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Abstract

My research objective was to explore ways in which to reinterpret ‘Albert Herring’ by stylizing classic Edwardian design sensibilities to create a unique design identity, aesthetically evocative of the period yet not historically accurate; a ‘mash-up’ of styles relevant to the modern theatre-goer but not alienating the core opera audience. Researching photographs of the Edwardian period, specifically East England village shops and communities along with art movements and interiors of the time, formed the starting point. Analysis of the text and characters from Britton’s libretto and score gave me a strong sense that the period, morality and beliefs held by the community remained important for the telling of this story. I drew parallels between the themes of sexuality that underpin the narrative with imagery of the fruit that fills Albert’s greengrocer’s shop. Pursuing the ‘fruity’ angle of this tale lead me to draw on the Art Nouveau style of stained glass and organic pattern and form. This became a metaphor for the rebelling youth of the town and was juxtaposed with the more austere Victorian gothic elements incorporated in the set that represent the old fashioned values of the elders. These two references were carefully blended together to create the three sets and 93 costumes that I designed for the production. The merging of two art movements, along with exploring the use of stained glass within unexpected elements of the set such as the trees in the vicarage garden, created a contemporary slant on the period interiors. I aimed to strike a balance between the traditional and the new so as to present this story in a fresh light and challenge the perceptions of a traditional opera audience. The production was directed by internationally acclaimed opera director Stefan Janski with lighting design by international opera designer Ace McCarron. The design received four star reviews from The Times, Manchester Evening News and Opera Magazine. ‘Albert Herring’ received a nomination in the Best Opera category in the Manchester Theatre Awards alongside Opera North, English Touring Opera and Clonter Opera.

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Item Type: Other
Contributors:
ContributionNameEmail
ConductorRundell , Clark UNSPECIFIED
DirectorJanski, Stefan UNSPECIFIED
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Schools: School of Art, Design and Architecture
Related URLs:
References:

http://smallthings.org.uk/2013/01/02/the-resonance-of-seclusion-on-sale-now/

Reviews:

http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2011/12/13/britten_albertherring_rncm_rundell_janski_farr/

http://www.thegizzlereview.com/2011/12/albert-herring-rncm.html

http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/news/NWN031011.htm

http://www.culturalshenanigans.co.uk/2011/10/05/the-resonance-of-seclusion/

Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2012 09:06
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2013 13:45
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/14167

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