Burgess, Sally, South African–born English mezzo–soprano; b. Durban, Oct. 9, 1953. She was a student of Alan at the Royal Coll. of Music in London, and later pursued private training with Studholme, Salaman, and Veasey. In 1976 she began her career as a soprano with her formal debut as a soloist in the Brahms Requiem in London. In 1977 she made her first appearance at the English National Opera there as Bertha in Euryanthe, returning there in subsequent years to sing such roles as Zerlina, Cherubino, Miüaela, Massenet’s Charlotte, Mimi, and Strauss’s Composer. In 1978 she made her Wigmore Hall Recital debut in London, and thereafter became well known via her many concert engagements. In 1983 she made her debut as a mezzo–soprano at London’s Covent Garden as Siebel. She also appeared that year at Glyndebourne as Smeraldina in Prokofiev’s The Love for 3 Oranges. In 1986 she sang Carmen at the English National Opera, and also appeared with Opera North. She sang Fricka in Die Walküre at Glasgow’s Scottish Opera in 1991, returning there in 1992 as Annius in La Clemenza di Tito. In 1991 she also sang in the premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio. She portrayed Dalila in Nantes in 1994. In 1996 she sang Strauss’s Herodias at the English National Opera and Isabella in The Voyage at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1997 she appeared in the premiere of Twice Through the Heart at the Aldeburgh Festival.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire