Siege of Calais (L’assedio di Calais) - English Touring Opera, Hackney Empire, 9 March 2013
L’assedio di Calais is one of those Donizetti operas that don't get many outings. The fault is not in the music, which with its many delightful ensemble pieces is no worse than his more popular works. However the gloomy subject (check the title) doesn't do it any favours. Neither does the (non-)story line (check the title again). The one and only moment of dramatic tension comes towards the end, when the besieged burghers have to decide whether to sacrifice six of their number to seal a peace deal with the beastly besiegers.