Matthew Siveter is a member of the National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company and will be playing the parts of the Pirate King (The Pirates of Penzance) and Pish Tush (The Mikado) in 2019. Matt will also perform his one-man show – “Mr Matt Siveter Entertains” in Buxton on Friday 26 July and will be an entertainer on our G&S cruises down the Rhine in March and down the Moselle, November 23-20.
Hello Matt. You are certainly a very busy man. What do you think makes the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera company so special?
Hello! I think what makes NGSOC so special is that it’s one of, if not THE largest company still performing Gilbert and Sullivan to a professional level since the ‘good old days’. The fact it allows traditional Gilbert and Sullivan to be shown to such a high standard but allow for new ideas and takes on the works we love is what makes it so special in my eyes.
Your first port of call will be entertaining on our exclusive orchestra cruise down the Rhine (March 18-25) when we will be taking an orchestra and half a dozen top singers along to entertain our guests. Are you looking forward to your first Theatrical Adventure with us?
I’m very excited to be coming down the Rhine with you! I’ve never been on a river cruise and it will be really good fun to do so with like-minded Gilbert and Sullivan fans and friends I’ve made through my years at The Festival.
You are playing the Pirate King and Pish Tush with the Opera Company this year. These are two fantastic roles that need a very different approach. Have you played them before and how do you prepare yourself prior to rehearsals starting in July?
Fantastic roles, indeed! I have played the Pirate King before but back in my Youth Festival days so it’ll be really great to revisit the role with a more working mind. I always like to go back through the traditional settings of the roles and look at people like Donald Adams and what they did. Then I try and add what I think or interpret the lines and come to rehearsal with a solid idea of how I think I’d like to do it. I’ve never played Pish Tush so I’m excited to see the show from a different role as I’ve played The Mikado and, believe it or not, Katisha!!
Do you have a favourite Gilbert & Sullivan role?
Sir Despard has always been the role I’ve wanted to perform so I was really pleased to get the chance to do it with The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company last year. And I’ve had huge amounts of fun playing John Wellington Wells in the past. But I think my favourite role has to be Grosvenor as he gets comedy akin to a patter role but also some great moments to sing.
And your favourite opera?
Ruddigore! It’s so gloriously over the top as I”m often told I am. Can’t think what they mean…
What would be your dream role in the world of musical theatre/opera?
In musical theatre I think it would be Miss Trunchbull in ‘Matilda’ as it’s so villainous but comedic. In opera it would have to be Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville! i think I’ve got a few years to wait to play either of them!
You performed in the Festival Youth Production for a number of years, taking many leading roles and winning numerous awards. Were you aware of Gilbert & Sullivan before you took part in the Youth Production and did your participation give you a good introduction to the world of G&S?
I was aware of G&S beforehand but only in terms of what I’d performed. I’d been in the chorus of HMS Pinafore and The Mikado thanks to Martin Yates who took me to one side after seeing me in a show and telling me I’d be ideal for G&S. I then played Jack Point at 15 (talk about being thrown in the deep end!) before coming to the Youth Festival to be in Ruddigore. It was then that my passion for G&S grew on a wider scale and I began to enjoy it all rather than what I was in at the time.
If any budding performers are reading this, would you recommend they joined the Festival Youth Production this year and what advice would you give them?
I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I’m so grateful to the Youth Festival as it was what got me into G&S. Because of the fun I had with the Youth Festival I then became more and more involved and I don’t think I’d be working as a professional singer if it weren’t for the Youth production allowing me to find my strengths and work on them. If any youngsters are aspiring to perform professionally one day or even if performing is just a hobby, it is one of the best ways to spend a week or two in your summer. You meet some great people and get a brilliant opportunity to perform in a completely supportive environment and be inspired by professional and amateur performances alike.
You have been to so many Gilbert & Sullivan Festivals over the years. What do you like most about the Festival?
I’m amazed you haven’t had me barred yet! I love the Festival and being around it. It’s so much fun to be around a huge army of people that live and breathe the work. It does feel like a family and the connections you make throughout those couple of weeks are so special and make coming back each time even more exciting. I also love that there is ALWAYS something on so you can never be bored!
Can you tell us about your show “Mr Matt Siveter Entertains” that you will be performing in Buxton on July 26th?
For those who have seen my show over at Harrogate, you’ll know to expect something off the cuff with me. I love putting these shows together as I can collate all my favourite G&S with other appropriate (or not!) material. You can expect a lot of energy, a lot of comedy and a lot of music you’ll know and love. The world is too serious these days so I hope that for that brief afternoon with me, we can have a laugh and forget about whatever else is going on. I’ll parody some of the works we love and try and present it in a way you might not expect with all my own comedy and probably some embarrassing photos of me on a PowerPoint! But at the heart of it all, I promise to try and sing well… so come!
Can you leave us with your favourite quote/funny line from one of the G&S operas?
I think it HAS to be Katisha in The Mikado with ‘I am an acquired taste – only the educated palate can appreciate me.’
Thank you Matt and we look forward to seeing you soon.
If you want to join Matt on our March cruise there is still time to book. Please call Neil on 01422 323252 or visit the website here for more information.
You can see “Mr Matt Siveter Entertains” in Buxton on Friday 26th July at 2.30pm. Tickets £15. To book, call 01422 323252
Matt will perform with the National G&S Opera Company in Buxton (July 24-29). For more information and to book go to www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk
He will also be performing at the 26th International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate – 7-18 August and then on tour throughout the UK (details coming soon). For more information or to book go to www.gsfestivals.org or call 01422 323252.
The Festival Youth Production in 2019 is “The Pirates of Penzance” and will be performed on Saturday 17 August. Rehearsals will take place daily in Harrogate from Saturday 10th August. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org