The Siege of Calais (L'assedio di Calais)

Gaetano Donizetti - Spring 2015

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

Conductor 
Jeremy Silver
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Samal Blak
Lighting Designer 
Mark Howland

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

4 STARS, Telegraph

A bleakly magnificent parable of patriotism

4 STARS, Independent

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

ETO has done The Siege of Calais proud.

4 STARS, Sunday Telegraph

Fast, fluid and surprisingly moving… ETO’s production packs an emotional punch.

4 STARS, Whatsonstage

The invaders are at the gates and their king is demanding six victims in exchange for sparing the city from destruction. But will the people of Calais agree to the sacrifice?
With echoes of Les Misérables, The Siege of Calais is a stirring tale of heroism in the face of defeat, and one of ETO’s most widely-acclaimed productions. Proud, fierce, exhilarating – this is history on stage, in thrilling music.

Revival, sung in Italian with English surtitles
Running time: 2 hours (incl. one 20 minute interval)
Age guidance: Suitable for all ages. Of a serious nature, but no adult content.

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
    7th Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm
  2. Lighthouse, Poole
    21st Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm
  3. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
    31st Mar 2015 - 7:45 pm
  4. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    8th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  5. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
    14th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  6. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    29th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  7. The Hawth, Crawley
    7th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  8. The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
    9th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  9. Grand Theatre Blackpool
    12th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  10. Gala Theatre, Durham
    19th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  11. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    26th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  12. Thália Theatre, Budapest
    30th Jun 2015 - 7:30 pm
  1. Hackney Empire — 7th Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm

    291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ

  2. Lighthouse, Poole — 21st Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Kingland Road, Poole, BH15 1UG

  3. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield — 31st Mar 2015 - 7:45 pm

    55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA

  4. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham — 8th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HQ

  5. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre — 14th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DE

  6. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 29th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  7. The Hawth, Crawley — 7th May 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ

  8. The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury — 9th May 2015 - 7:30 pm

    The Friars, Canterbury, CT1 2AS

  9. Grand Theatre Blackpool — 12th May 2015 - 7:30 pm

    33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT

  10. Gala Theatre, Durham — 19th May 2015 - 7:30 pm

    1 Millennium Place, Town Centre, Durham, DH1 1WA

  11. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 26th May 2015 - 7:30 pm

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

  12. Thália Theatre, Budapest — 30th Jun 2015 - 7:30 pm

    Nagymező utca 22-24, Budapest

Jeremy Silver

Jeremy Silver

Conductor

James Conway

James Conway

Director

As General Director of ETO for 17 years and ETO’s Artistic Director since April 2019, James Conway has directed productions of operas by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Donizetti, Janácek, Puccini, Debussy, Ullmann, Britten and Tippett, as well as a world premiere by Alexander Goehr. Before coming to ETO he was General Director of Opera Theatre Company in Dublin; his productions for that company travelled to New York (Brooklyn Academy of Music), and to festivals in Melbourne, London, Buxton, Paris, Dusseldorf, Prague, Brno, Lisbon and Porto. Notable among his freelance directing is the long-running production of The Cunning Little Vixen at the Janácek Theatre, Brno.

Samal Blak

Samal Blak

Designer

Mark Howland

Mark Howland

Lighting Designer

Mark studied, briefly, at Oxford University prior to training in Stage Lighting Design at RADA.

Previously for ETO: Dardanus, Tosca, Patience, Ulysses’ Homecoming, La Calisto, Xerxes, The Tales of Hoffmann, Werther, Pelleas et Melisande, La Boheme, The Siege of Calais, Wild Man of the West Indies.

Other designs include: La Rondine, Don Giovanni (Opera Holland Park); Twelve Angry Men (Birmingham Rep & West End); Elixir of Love, Rodelinda (Scottish Opera); Sweeney Todd (Aarhus Theatre, Denmark); Singin’ in the Rain (Det Ny Teater, Copenhagen) and numerous productions for The Gate Theatre London, The Curve, Nottingham Playhouse, Lyric Theatre Belfast amongst many others.

Cast

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Eustachio

Mr Craig Smith will sing the role of Scarpia on 4 & 9 March (London), 18 March (Poole), 21 March (Sheffield), 25 March (Bromley), 1 April (Snape), 8 April (York), 11 April (Wolverhampton), 13 April (Leicester), 19 & 22 April (Cheltenham), 28 & 29 April (Cambridge), 2 May (Guildford), 5 May (Buxton), 9 May (Coventry), 13 May (Canterbury), 18 May (Perth), 26 & 27 May (Exeter), 1 & 2 June (Norwich). 5 June (Stoke), 7 June (Ulverston) and 10 June (Blackpool).

Born Bolton
Training Manchester University, RNCM
Awards Ricordi Prize for Opera
Opera Ford Falstaff (ETO), Michele/Tonio Tabarro/Pagliacci (ON), Nabucco (ENO & Bucharest), Rigoletto (Tokyo), Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Theater an der Wien & Covent Garden), Germont La Traviata (ENO & St. Margarethen Festival)
Concert Handel Messiah (Liverpool Philharmonic), Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Tchaikovsky Maid of Orleans (BBC Philharmonic)
Recordings Martin In Terra Pax (Swiss Radio), Les Dialogues des Carmelites (Oehms Classics)

Paula Sides

Paula Sides

Eleonora

Recently applauded for her performance of Tosca with English Touring Opera, Paula Sides was awarded the Tagor Gold Medal from the Royal College of the Music and was the winner of the Karavoitis Prize in the Les Azureal International Competition. In 2018 operatic performances include the title role of Thais with Chelsea Opera Group, receiving critical acclaim, Cunegonde, Iford Opera. and Sombra, The Arcadians Opera Della Luna. This year on the concert platform performances include Mahler 8, Britten’s War Requiem, Rutter’s Requiem, Dona Nobis Pacem, Vaughan Williams, Beethoven 9, Dvorak’s 9th Symphony. Upcoming engagements Donna Anna Don Giovanni Longborough Opera Summer 2019.

Catherine Carby

Catherine Carby

Aurelio

In her native Australia, Catherine Carby has performed with the major opera companies and her wider engagements have included performances with Buxton Festival Opera, Chelsea Opera Group, ENO, Longborough Festival Opera and Scottish Opera, as well as at the Teatro Sao Carlos, Lisbon, and with orchestras including the CBSO, the OAE, the RPO and the Ulster Orchestra. Current highlights include include Penelope Il ritorno d’Ulisse for Pinchgut Opera, Annina La traviata and Siegrune Die Walküre for the Royal Opera, London, Girls’ Night Out (A Celebration of the Music of Richard Strauss) for the State Opera of South Australia and Katharina Schratt Mayerling for the Royal Ballet, London.

For ETO: Diana La Calisto, Aurelio L’Assiedo di Calais, Rodrigo Pia de’Tolomei, Cornelia Giulio Cesare, Iphigénie Iphigénie en Tauride and Rossini Fireworks!

Helen Sherman

Helen Sherman

Aurelio (from 29 April)

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.

Grant Doyle

Grant Doyle

Edoardo

Born in Australia, he studied in Adelaide and the RCM. A former Royal Opera Young Artist, his roles there have included Čekunov House of the Dead, Ping Turandot, Le Dancaïre Carmen, Billy Anna Nicole, Schaunard and Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos. Other appearances include Prince Yeletsky (Opera Holland Park), Forester Cunning Little Vixen, Don Giovanni (Garsington), Robin Oakapple Ruddigore (Opera North), Abraham Clemency (Scottish Opera), Sir Thomas in Dove’s Mansfield Park (Grange Festival), Oreste (Sydney), Zurga Les pêcheurs de perles (Opera Queensland), Starbuck in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (Adelaide), Ned Keene Peter Grimes (Gran Canaria), Mike in Adams’s I Was Looking at the Ceiling (Rome) and Demetrius (Madrid, Berlin). ETO roles include Figaro (Barber of Seville), Paolo (Simon Boccanegra), Hector (King Priam), Emireno (Ottone), Eduardo (L’assedio di Calais), Marcello (La boheme), Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride), Nello (Pia de’ Tolomei), Teucer (Dardanus) and Tiridate (Radamisto).

Nicholas Merryweather

Nicholas Merryweather

Edoardo (from 29 April)

Sheffield born, Nicholas Merryweather studied at the Musikhochschule in Cologne and on the opera course at GSMD. He was a recipient of the ETO Chris Ball Bursary in 2011 and the 2008 Glyndebourne Wessex Award. Nicholas’s operatic roles include Don Giovanni, Papageno The Magic Flute and Mozart’s Figaro (LFO); Don Polidoro The Italian Girl in London (Buxton Festival); Cassandro La Finta Semplice for Bampton Classical Opera; Blazes The Lighthouse, title role Fantastic Mr Fox, Marco Gianni Schicchi (ETO). Concert engagements include Bach with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Handel with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra and Hallé Orchestra.

Matthew Stiff

Matthew Stiff

Pietro de Wisants

Matthew Stiff graduated with distinction from the Opera Course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has performed for companies including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Scottish Opera, Opera North, Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Mid Wales Opera, Iford Arts Festival and Hyogo Performing Arts Center, Japan. Roles include Leporello DON GIOVANNI, Colline LA BOHEME, title role LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Pietro L’ASSEDIO DI CALAIS, Prince Gremin EUGENE ONEGIN, Doctor Grenvil LA TRAVIATA, Hobson PETER GRIMES, Lord Walton I PURITANI, Marquis de la Force DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES, Snug A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. His most recent performances include Sacristan TOSCA for Opera North and Magnifico CENERENTOLA for West Green House Opera.

Andrew Glover

Andrew Glover

Giovanni

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.

Ronan Busfield

Ronan Busfield

Edmondo

Matt R J Ward

Matt R J Ward

Giacomo de Wisants

Matt is a recent graduate of RCM, where he studied with Justin Lavender supported by the RCM Yvonne Wells Award. Roles at RCM include Arnalta in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Frick in La Vie Parisienne, Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro and Messenger in The Life to Come (libretto and direction by Stephen Fry). Other roles include Mercury in Orpheus in the Underworld, Nanki-Poo (cover) in The Mikado, The Rector (cover) in Peter Grimes (West Australian Opera Company), Laurie in Little Women, Le Chevalier in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (West Australian Academy of Performing Arts). www.mattrjward.com

Jan Capinski

Jan Capinski

Armando

Originally from Kraków, Poland, Jan trained at the Academy of Music there before moving to the UK to study at the RWCMD and ENO Opera Works. He has performed roles with (among others) ETO, Scottish Opera, Garsington Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Mid Wales Opera, and BYO. Outside singing Jan is a recording engineer and videographer, as well as paddleboarder, kayaker, blogger, and board game geek.

Peter Brathwaite

Peter Brathwaite

Incognito







Showing At

  1. Hackney Empire
    7th Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm
  2. Lighthouse, Poole
    21st Mar 2015 - 7:30 pm
  3. Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
    31st Mar 2015 - 7:45 pm
  4. Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
    8th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  5. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
    14th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  6. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    29th Apr 2015 - 7:30 pm
  7. The Hawth, Crawley
    7th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  8. The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
    9th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  9. Grand Theatre Blackpool
    12th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  10. Gala Theatre, Durham
    19th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  11. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    26th May 2015 - 7:30 pm
  12. Thália Theatre, Budapest
    30th Jun 2015 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Re. Budapest performance: I'm really more than delighted with this staging. It was an idea of genius to borrow the scenes 1-3 from Act III, otherwise rather boringly long, for the 1st scene of Act I and reform this into a speech to the soldiers. The whole scene bears such an anti-militaristic charge, in a Good Soldier Svejk style! And a brilliant job is done by each and every actor (special thanks to Mr. Merryweather of course).

    Said Elena at 06:40am on 11th Aug 2015

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