Anne Sessions as the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury

Anne Sessions (1956-63, 1965-69)

[Born Erdington, Birmingham 1936]

After appearing in leading roles with amateur operatic societies in her native Birmingham, soprano Anne Sessions joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in May 1956 as chorister, understudy, and small part player. During the 1956-57 season she shared the small part of Giulia in The Gondoliers with Margaret Dobson. For the next season (beginning July 1957) she took Giulia as her own, and added Chloe in Princess Ida when that opera was revived in October. She appeared as Giulia and Chloe until July 1960, also filling in on occasion as Yum-Yum in The Mikado.

In July 1960 Miss Sessions briefly stepped into five principal soprano roles:Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum, Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers:following the departure of Mary Sansom. But Miss Sansom returned in September 1960 and Anne Sessions was left with Gianetta and, for the first time, the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, though she did fill in occasionally in 1960-61 as Patience, Phyllis, Yum-Yum, and Rose. In November 1961, she yielded Gianetta to a returning Jean Hindmarsh, though she reclaimed Chloe that month when Princess Ida was again restored. When Miss Hindmarsh left temporarily in April 1962, Miss Sessions resumed playing Gianetta for the rest of the season. She also filled in as Yum-Yum again in 1961-62.

When the new season began in August 1962, Jean Hindmarsh was back, and Anne Sessions was left with two small roles:Chloe and Giulia. She retook the Plaintiff in January 1963, and filled in from time to time as Gianetta, before leaving the D'Oyly Carte in July to appear in the London production of My Fair Lady.

She returned to the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in July 1965, and over the next four seasons appeared regularly as Sacharissa (1965-67) and Lady Psyche (1967-69) in Princess Ida, Giulia (1965-67) and Fiametta (1967-69) in The Gondoliers, the Plaintiff (1967-69), Lady Ella in Patience (1968-69), Celia in Iolanthe (1968-69), and Zorah in Ruddigore (1968-69). As understudy to principal soprano parts, she also substituted as Patience, Phyllis, Yum-Yum, and Rose.

Anne Sessions left the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in July 1969. She was married for a time to D'Oyly Carte tenor Ralph Mason.

Since leaving the D'Oyly Carte, Miss Sessions has remained active in Gilbert & Sullivan. Now a contralto, she has appeared in numerous amateur productions in such roles as Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Katisha in The Mikado, Dame Hannah in Ruddigore, Dame Carruthers in The Yeomen of the Guard, and the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers. She has taken part in several Buxton Gilbert & Sullivan festivals, including a recent performance of Trial by Jury, in which she and Thomas Round revisited their D'Oyly Carte roles of Plaintiff and Defendant.

Away from G&S, Miss Sessions has appeared in the musicals Hello Dolly, Guys and Dolls, Me and My Girl, Cabaret, and Fiddler on the Roof.

Page modified July 21, 2004© 2001-04 David Stone