The Siege of Calais (L'assedio di Calais)

Gaetano Donizetti - Spring 2013

A vocally brilliant, stirring and patriotic telling of the story of the burghers of Calais by ‘bel canto’ opera composer Gaetano Donizetti.

Conductor 
Jeremy Silver
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Samal Blak
Lighting Designer 
Ace McCarron

Robust, virile and emotionally charged … English Touring Opera’s performance is enthralling.

4 STARS, Telegraph

Donizetti’s music always has a relentless jolliness about it… brings to mind some of the most stirring parts of Les Miserables.

4 STARS, Daily Express

Thrilling, emotive singing from mezzo Helen Sherman in the trousers role of Aurelio; from Eddie Wade as Eustachio, and from Paula Sides as Aurelio’s wife. ETO has done The Siege of Calais proud.

4 STARS, Sunday Telegraph

What does it mean to be a citizen? What is it that a citizen owes to his city, or country? This is the question posed by Donizetti’s rarely performed epic The Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) – a ‘serious’ opera, sung in Italian, constructed of bel canto arias and ensembles of extraordinary quality.

It is the story of the burghers of Calais (depicted by Rodin in his famous sculpture outside the Houses of Parliament), citizens who offer up their lives to save their city from a besieging army. Their sacrifice is quiet, ordinary, sublime – and it culminates in one of the most moving ensembles in all of opera, the momentous O sacra polve, o suol natio (O Sacred Earth).

The opera also includes poignant, intimate scenes between the young couple at the heart of the drama (played by soprano Paula Sides and by mezzo Helen Sherman in a role originally written for a musico), and between the leader of the city (baritone Eddie Wade) and his anguished followers. Meanwhile, at the gates, the triumphant Edward III (played by extraordinary young baritone Cozmin Sime) shouts for blood.

ETO’s new production features designs by Faroese artist Samal Blak, inspired by the siege of Stalingrad.

New production, sung in Italian with English surtitles
Touring with a 26-piece live orchestra
Running time: 2 hours (incl. one 20 minute interval).

Click here to find out how you can become more involved in our new production of The Siege of Calais by joining our Production Syndicate

The story

Read the synopsis here.

Music playlist

ETO’s performers sing “O sacra polve, o suol natio” from the end of Act II of The Siege of Calais (recorded at Snape Maltings Concert Hall).

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    9th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  2. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    22nd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  3. Norwich Theatre Royal
    27th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  4. York Theatre Royal
    13th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  5. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    20th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  6. Buxton Opera House
    27th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  7. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    2nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  8. Warwick Arts Centre
    11th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  9. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall
    16th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    21st May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  1. Hackney Empire — 9th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  2. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 22nd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  3. Norwich Theatre Royal — 27th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL

  4. York Theatre Royal — 13th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    YO1 7HD

  5. Snape Maltings Concert Hall — 20th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Aldeburgh Music, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP

  6. Buxton Opera House — 27th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Water Street, SK17 6XN

  7. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham — 2nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ

  8. Warwick Arts Centre — 11th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL

  9. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall — 16th May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Mill Street, Perth, PH1 5HZ

  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 21st May 2013 - 7:30 pm

    6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ

Jeremy Silver

Jeremy Silver

Conductor

James Conway

James Conway

Director

General Director of ETO, James Conway has directed 24 new productions and 4 revivals for the company, including Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (to be revived in 2015), Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante, Teseo, Tolomeo, Flavio, Xerxes and Agrippina. Other notable ETO productions include Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Simon Boccanegra, The Emperor of Atlantis and the world première of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End. For RCM he directed L’incoronazione di Poppea and Le nozze di Figaro, and for the Canadian Opera Company Don Giovanni. His production of The Cunning Little Vixen is in repertory at the Moravian National Theatre in Janacek’s home city of Brno. He has written original libretti for 2 operas and translations for 5 others, as well as several works of fiction; his most recent translation was last season’s Agrippina. Upcoming productions include Giulio Cesare (Lucca) and Ottone (ETO).

Samal Blak

Samal Blak

Designer

Ace McCarron

Ace McCarron

Lighting Designer

Cast

Eddie Wade

Eddie Wade

Baritone

Eustachio, Mayor of Calais

Born Barnsley
Training NOS, GSMD
Awards first prize in the National Mozart Competition, Verdi / Wagner prize
Opera Baron Douphol La Traviata (ROH, WNO, GTO), Mandarin Turandot (ROH), Marcello La Bohème (WNO), Executioner Inés de Castro, Sharpless Madama Butterfly (both SO)
Concert Mendelssohn Elijah (Exeter and Wells Cathedrals), Essential Scottish Opera (SO), Verdi Requiem (Pontypridd Choral Society)
Recordings Baron Douphol La Traviata (WNO broadcast on S4C)

Helen Sherman

Helen Sherman

Mezzo-soprano

Aurelio, Eustachio's son

Australian mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Following her success in the 2007 Australian Singing Competition she was awarded a scholarship to take up studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. In 2011 she represented Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

Of her recent performance as Aurelio for English Touring Opera’s L’Assedio di Calais, The Times wrote: “Donizetti’s fierce vocal demands are met fearlessly and thrillingly by the young Australian mezzo Helen Sherman, playing the volatile hero Aurelio. Her stridently masculine body language and formidable vocal power seem to epitomize the bloody-minded resistance of the besieged citizens.”

Recent engagements have included Dorabella for ETO, Donna Elvira for Mid Wales Opera, Suzuki and Governess for Grange Park Opera.
Helen’s concert appearances include recitals at Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall and City of London Festival, Performances at Cheltenham Festival, the Royal Albert Hall with Sir David Willcocks, a recital with Roger Vignoles, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and Peter Maxwell Davies’s Five Acts of Harry Patch with London Mozart Players at St John’s Smith Square.
Future engagements include Nicklausse (The Tales of Hoffmann), Nero (The Coronation of Poppea) and a recital with Malcolm Martineau and Sir Thomas Allen at Wigmore Hall for the Samling Foundation.

Paula Sides

Paula Sides

Soprano

Eleonora, Aurelio's wife

Ms Paula Sides will sing the role of Mimi on 11 April (Everyman Theatre, matinee performance), 25 April (Warwick Arts Centre), 28 April (Exeter Northcott Theatre), 16 May (Buxton Opera House) and 29 May (Cambridge Arts Theatre).

Paula received the Tagor Gold Medal from the RCM and the Karaviotis Prize at the Les Azuriales International Competition. At RCM, she was a finalist for the Young Concert Artists Trust and received the Coutts & Co. Award along with the Sir Thomas Allen Scholarship supported by a Clayton Award. Operatic roles include Norina/ Don Pasquale, Gilda/ Rigoletto (Preggio Opera Festival, Italy); Atalanta/ Atalanta (Handel Society); Bastienne/ Bastien und Bastienne (Skipton Camerata); Mimi/ La bohème, Inez/ Il trovatore (both Opus I Opera); Grasshopper/ The Cunning Little Vixen (RCM). Covers include Governess/ Turn of the Screw (Opera North). Concert engagements include Mozart Unwrapped (King’s Place with Roger Vignoles November 2011), City of Dreams (Philharmonia Orchestra concert series 2009); City Music Society series (Eric Falk Trust Award). Paula has also recorded a Peroni advert soundtrack. Previously for ETO, Paula has performed the roles of Pamina/ The Magic Flute, Clizia/ Teseo, Emilia/ Flavio, Susanna/ Figaro.
www.operauk.com/paula-sides

Cozmin Sime

Cozmin Sime

Baritone

Eduardo III, King of England

Romanian baritone Cozmin Sime is a graduate of the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music. He has attended masterclasses with Ion Buzea, Tom Krause, Susanna Eken, Sally Burgess, John Norris, Margreet Honigh, Barbara Bonney, Nelly Miricioiu and Alfred Brendel.

While a student Cozmin sang the roles of Count Almaviva, Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo, Così fan tutte, Dandini, La cenerentola, and Belcore, L’elisir d’amore. In Bucharest he sang the role of Marcello, La bohème at the National Opera of Bucharest and at the National Opera of Cluj-Napoca he performed the role of Nick Shadow in the national première of The Rake’s Progress.

Cozmin made his international debut as Claudio, Emilia di Liverpool (European Opera Centre) following which he was invited to the Mozart Academy at Aix-en Provence Festival. Cozmin has won many major music and vocal competitions, including lied and opera, in Romania as well as La Competition des jeunes solistes at St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France. Future plans include: Guglielmo, Così fan tutte (Dubrovnik Opera Festival).

Brendan Collins

Brendan Collins

Baritone

Pietro de Wisants, burgher

Brendan Collins trained at the Cork School of Music under Robert Beare, the D.I.T. Conservatory, and in 2007 was granted a scholarship to study at the opera studio of Theatre de la Monnaie in Brussels under renowned bass-baritone José van Dam. In 2005 he was one of only 12 Irish singers to take part in the first Wexford Festival Young Artists programme under tenor Dennis O’Neill.

As a soloist he has performed with many of Ireland and the UK’s leading companies including Opera Ireland, OTC, ETO, NI Opera, Scottish Opera, Anna Livia Festival, Lyric Opera and Glasthule Opera. His roles include Count Almaviva/ Le Nozze di Figaro, Marcello/ La Boheme, Escamillo/ Carmen, Giorgio Germont/ La Traviata, Masetto/ Don Giovanni, cover Demetrius/ Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, Notare/ Don Pasquale, Marullo/ Rigoletto, Elviro/ Xerxes, Fiorello/ The Barber of Seville, Baron Duphol/ La Traviata, Sacristan/ Tosca, Yamadori/ Madama Butterfly and Count Gil/ Il segreto di Susanna amongst others.

Andrew Glover

Andrew Glover

Tenor

Giovanni d'Aire, burgher

Andrew was born in New Zealand and graduated the Australian Opera Studio with Honours and the Dux award for excellence.

Recent appearances have included Tinca, Il tabarro, Gherardo, Gianni Schicchi and cover Bunce, Fantastic Mr Fox (all ETO); Bardolfo, Falstaff, Abdallo, Nabucco (both IFAC Tokyo); Tito, La clemenza di Tito, Msr Triquet, Eugene Onegin (both New Zealand Opera); Remendado, Carmen, Un Voce, La Gioconda (both Opera Holland Park); Don Basilio, Le nozze di Figaro (Vignette Productions).

He has appeared in numerous concerts and recitals with ensembles including the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Perth Orchestra, the Australian Opera Studio, the NBR NZ Opera Company.

Future engagements include Vašek, The Bartered Bride.

Adam Tunnicliffe

Adam Tunnicliffe

Tenor

Edmundo, English general

Canadian tenor Adam Tunnicliffe read music at Christ Church, Oxford and studied as a postgraduate at GSMD. Roles with ETO include Sandy The Lighthouse, Albert Albert Herring, Lensky Eugene Onegin, Don Basilio The Marriage of Figaro, Mr. Porcupine Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Mask The Duenna, and Captain Promised End (Alexander Goehr, world premiere). Other roles include Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi at OHP, Fracasso La Finta Semplice, Apollonia La Canterina and Sumers in L’italiana in Londra for Bampton Classical Opera.

Niel Joubert

Niel Joubert

Tenor

Giacomo de Wisants, burgher

Born in South Africa, he attended the Drakensberg Boys Choir School and studied at the RAM where he was generously supported by the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, SA Arts Council and various RAM bursaries. He was a Finalist in the 2012 Handel Singing Competition.
Operatic roles have included Autumn/The Fairy Queen, Parpignol/La Boheme, Tantale/La descente d’Orphée aux enfers (GFO), Don Curzio/Le Nozze di Figaro, Araldo/Rinaldo (GTO), Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, Pedrillo/Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Monostatos/Die Zauberflöte, Pelléas/Pelléas et Mélisande, Adolphe/Die Opernprobe, Hot Biscuit Slim/Paul Bunyan.
Oratorio performances include Messiah (Harry Bicket, ECO, Laurence Cummings), Dixit Dominus, St. John/St. Matthew Passion, The Choice of Hercules (Laurence Cummings), L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (William Christie), Mozart Requiem (OAE), Ode on St. Cecilia Day, Haydn Creation and Nelson Mass, St. John Passion (Evangelist), Bach Magnificat and B minor Mass.
Concert venue appearances include the Royal Albert Hall, St. James Piccadilly, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Houses of Parliament, Palau de la Musica, Neresheim Cathedral, Auditorio Nacional de Música, Duomo Montepulciano and Thêâtre des Champs-Élysées.
As a member of the BBC Singers Ad Hoc list he has performed numerous world premieres by contemporary composers such as Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès and Edward Cowie, and has, amongst others, worked with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, the late Richard Hickox and Jiří Bělohlávek. He has also made numerous TV and radio broadcasts with the group.

Matthew Sprange

Matthew Sprange

Baritone

Armando

Matthew has worked for companies including WNO, SO, MWO, Chelsea Opera Group, London Festival Opera and BYO and worked with ETO for the first time last year. He has performed roles including title role Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello / Schaunard La bohème, Guglielmo Così fan tutte, Sid Albert Herring, Eustachio L’assedio di Calais, Germont Pere La Traviata and Yamadori Madame Butterfly. He studied on the Opera Course at GSMD and continues to study privately with John Evans.

Piotr Lempa

Piotr Lempa

Bass

Incognito

SPRING 2014 – THE MAGIC FLUTE
The role of Sarastro will be sung by Mr Piotr Lempa for the following performances: Truro (10 March), Cheltenham (5 April), York (15 April), Crawley (5 May), Exeter (13 May), Perth (22 May), and Cambridge (31 May).

Mr Piotr Lempa will sing the role of Speaker on the following dates: London (7, 8 March), Poole (13 March), Wolverhampton (17 March), Snape (27 March), Cheltenham (3, 4 April), Leicester (7 April), Sheffield (11 April), Canterbury (22 April), Norwich (27 April), Coventry (9, 10 May), Exeter (14, 15 May), Durham (19 May), and Cambridge (29, 30 May).

Piotr Lempa is a native of Poland and graduate of RAM, Cardiff International Academy of Voice and the Vocal and Acting Faculty at the Music Academy in Gdansk, Poland. He made his opera debut singing Oroveso Norma for ETO. He has since appeared in productions of La bohème, Die Zauberflöte, Ariadne auf Naxos, Kátya Kabanová, Halka, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Le nozze di Figaro, Bastien und Bastienne, and Salome, in Wales, England, Germany and Poland. Future plans include Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Patroclus (King Priam) and Publius (La Clemenza di Tito). www.piotrlempa.com

Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    9th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  2. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    22nd Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  3. Norwich Theatre Royal
    27th Mar 2013 - 7:30 pm
  4. York Theatre Royal
    13th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  5. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    20th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  6. Buxton Opera House
    27th Apr 2013 - 7:30 pm
  7. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    2nd May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  8. Warwick Arts Centre
    11th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  9. Perth Festival, Perth Concert Hall
    16th May 2013 - 7:30 pm
  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    21st May 2013 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. An enthralling performance, especially from Helen Sherman and Paula Sides.

    Said wendy at 07:30am on 23rd Mar 2013

  2. What a great tour you are having - Simon Boccanegra in Sheffield was tremendous and on Saturday in Buxton another feast of singing and playing (especially Eustachio, Aurelio and Eleonora). Brava and bravo to all involved.

    Said Judy and Roger at 14:12pm on 29th Apr 2013

  3. We would just like to say how much we enjoyed the performances of the Siege of Calais and Simon Boccanegra at Buxton this weekend. Our enjoyment was contributed to considerably by the interesting and informed pre-performance talks by Carlos del Cueto.

    Said Douglas and Jenny at 14:14pm on 29th Apr 2013

  4. This is the third one I saw at the Everyman, Cheltenham last week - and what a week! Obviously I'd never heard this opera before and wasn't going to miss the chance of such a rarity. And ETO did it proud - wonderful chorus work and great singing from all the principals.

    Looking forward to next year's offerings!

    Said Margaret Eccles at 00:53am on 7th May 2013

  5. I never dreamed it possible to make L'Assedio di Calais work so movingly and brilliantly as I saw at Warwick Arts on Saturday. Big thanks!

    Don't suppose you'll tour Northern Ireland or the Republic? It's a bit of a way from Armagh to Warwick...still, the journey was definitely worth it!

    Said Annie Stanyon at 12:01pm on 14th May 2013

Leave a comment





Made Media Ltd.