Albert Herring           
Benjamin Britten

Act 1 scene 1 Lady Billows' house

A representative group of local worthies, schoolmistress, vicar, mayor and policeman gather at the home of autocratic Lady Billows to discuss candidates for the town's May Queen. Each candidate's suitability is brought into question, with reference to observations made by Lady Billows' housekeeper, Florence. Ultimately the idea of a May King is mooted and accepted. This honour is to be given to Albert Herring, who, with his mother, runs the greengrocer's shop.

Act 1 scene 2 Greengroceryshop

Sid, the butcher's delivery boy, encounters Albert in his mother's shop. Albert is clearly dominated by his mother, and the arrival of Sid's girlfriend Nancy only serves to make him nervous and uncomfortable. When they have left the committee comes to inform Albert of his election to King of the May. Albert is less pleased by the honour and prize of 25 pounds than his mother.

Act 2 scene 1 Vicarage Garden

At the May Festival Albert is crowned King of the May. While he stumbles over his speech of acceptance some children lace his lemonade with rum, and he is immediately struck by hiccups.

Act 2 scene 2 Inside Greengrocery shop

Albert returns home later that evening, elated by his success and by the rum. While pondering his loneliness he overhars Sid and Nancy in th street outside discussing his being tied to his mother's apron strings. This provokes Albert to think ofbreaking free: he tosses a coin, and decides to go out and enjoy himself. When he has gone his mother returns home; hearing no sound she imagines Albert must already be alseep.

Act 3 Outside Greengrocery shop

The following afternoon Albert has still not yet returned home. It is presumed that he has had an accident and is dead. His eventual reappearance upsets those mourning his death, and his account of his drinking expedition shocks them further. He turns on his mother, accusing her of provoking him, and when the group of shocked townspeople has left him he assumes his position as master of the shop.