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 Mary Sansom

Mary Sansom

Birth
Taunton, Taunton Deane Borough, Somerset, England
Death 13 Apr 2010 (aged 74)
Bath, Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, Somerset, England
Burial Bath, Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, Somerset, England
Memorial ID 51935119 · View Source
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Opera Singer. She was lead soprano of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company for several seasons, then went on to a distinguished career as an operatic director and costumer. Raised in Taunton, she took to the stage as a young girl at Bishop Fox's Grammar School; studying voice with a private teacher in Bristol on weekends, she sang in local opera productions, where she got her first exposure to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Auditioned by Bridget D'Oyly Carte, she joined the company in 1956, initially as a chorister, but quickly graduating to small parts. Taking such roles as Celia in "Iolanthe" and Zorah in "Ruddigore", she occasionally filled in as Mabel in "The Pirates of Penzance", Lady Ella in "Patience", and Gianetta in "The Gondoliers". Promoted to principal soprano in 1959, she soon assumed her two signature pieces, Phyllis in "Iolanthe" and the title milkmaid of "Patience", as well as Yum-Yum in "The Mikado" and Rose Maybud in "Ruddigore". Sansom toured the United States and Canada in 1959, singing for the only time as a principal with her husband Alan Barrett in a New York performance of "Trial by Jury". Gradually turning over her leading roles, she retired to raise her children after 1964; a second, and longer, career as a director began in 1973, in which she staged Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as a full range of works from grand opera to musicals. Yet a third opportunity arose after she was tasked with making headdresses and banners for a production; she and her husband were to run the operatic costuming firm Barretts of Bath for 25 years. In her later years, Sansom played small roles in such television fare as "Casualty" and "House of Elliott", as well as volunteering at Bath Abbey. She died of the complications of Alzheimer's Disease, leaving a legacy of four complete Gilbert and Sullivan recordings made for Decca, including what many feel is the definitive rendition of "Patience".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 3 May 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 51935119
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Sansom (26 May 1935–13 Apr 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51935119, citing Haycombe Cemetery and Crematorium, Bath, Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority, Somerset, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .