Mary Sansom as Patience in Patience

Mary Sansom (1956-64)

[Born Taunton, Somerset, 26 May 1935, died Bath 13 Apr 2010]

After studying voice in Bristol and gaining experience in many amateur Gilbert & Sullivan productions, Soprano Mary Sansom joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in May 1956 as chorister and small part player. For three season she appeared regularly as Celia in Iolanthe, Zorah in Ruddigore, and Fiametta in The Gondoliers. As understudy to principal soprano Jean Hindmarsh, she also filled in on occasion as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (1957-59), and Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, the Lady Ella in Patience, Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers (all 1958-59).

In August 1959 she was promoted to principal soprano, taking the roles of Ella in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, then in May 1960 swapping Ella for the title role in Patience. She yielded Yum-Yum to Jennifer Toye in September 1961, but later that season picked up Lady Psyche when Princess Ida was revived in November, and took on Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard in December of that year.

During the 1962-63 season she appeared all year as Phyllis, Psyche, and Elsie. During the first half of the season she also had the small parts of the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, and Fiametta in The Gondoliers. But in January 1963 she gave up the small roles in favor of Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore and Gianetta in The Gondoliers.

During her tenure with the Company she recorded Phyllis (1960), Gianetta (1961), Patience (1961), and Zorah (1962).

She yielded Josephine and Elsie to newcomer Ann Hood in September 1963, but retained her other roles (Patience, Phyllis, Psyche, Rose, and Gianetta) throughout the 1963-64 season. It was her last with the Company. She left the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in July 1964.

Mary Sansom was married to former D'Oyly Carte baritone Alan Barrett. On leaving the D'Oyly Carte, they formed the theatrical costumiers "Barretts of Bath," a firm specializing in outfitting amateur operatic societies.

Page modified April 14, 2010© 2001-10 David Stone