The Siege of Belgrade

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The Siege of Belgrade is a comic opera in three acts, principally composed by Stephen Storace to an English libretto by James Cobb. It incorporated music by Mozart, Salieri, Paisiello and Martini, and is therefore considered a pasticcio opera, as well as a Singspiel in English language, as it contained a spoken dialogue. It premiered on 1 January 1791 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in London with a great success,[1] featuring many famous singers and actors of the time, such as sopranos Nancy Storace[2] and Anna Maria Crouch, tenor Michael Kelly[3] as well as Shakespearean actors (in spoken roles) such as John Bannister and Richard "Dicky" Suett.


Roles and performers at the premiere in London on 1 January 1791:[4]

  • Saraskier, the leader of Turkish forces (tenor) – Mr. Kelly
  • Colonel Cohenberg, Austrian Commander (spoken role) – Mr. Palmer
  • Krohnfeldt (spoken role?) – Mr. R. Palmer
  • Ismael, Commissioner of Saraskier and Yuseph (baritone) – Mr. Fox
  • Yuseph, Turkish kadi (tenor) – Mr. Suett
  • Leopold, Serbian peasant, in love with Lilla (tenor) – Mr. Bannister Jr.
  • Peter, Serbian peasant, Lilla's brother and in love with Ghita (tenor) – Mr. Dignum
  • Anselm, Serbian peasant (baritone) – Mr. Cook (later Mr. Sedgewick)
  • Michael (spoken role) – Mr. Hollingsworth
  • Soldier (spoken role) – Mr. Dubois
  • Lilla, Serbian peasant girl, Peter's sister (soprano) – Signora Storace
  • Catherine, wife of colonel Cohenberg (soprano) – Mrs. Crouch
  • Ghita, Serbian peasant girl (soprano) – Mrs. Bland
  • Fatima (spoken role) – Miss Hagley

Soldiers, Guards, Peasants, etc.

Notable musical numbers[edit]

  • "When justice claims the victim due" (Act 1, Trio for the Seraskier, Lilla and Ghita), originally sung by Michael Kelly, Nancy Storace and Mrs. Bland
  • "Domestic peace, my soul's desire" (Act 3, Lilla's aria), originally sung by Nancy Storace

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Storace. short biography
  2. ^ Anna (Nancy) Storace, list of performances
  3. ^ Kelly, Michael (1826). Thodore Edward Hook (ed.). Reminiscences of Michael Kelly of the King's Theatre and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (2nd ed.). London: Henry Colburn.
  4. ^ The Siege of Belgrade: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
Cited sources