Sally Le Sage

‘This little girl with her jolly face deserves to be named the best singer of the competition. Her singing of Debussy’s ‘C’est l’extase langoureuse’ can only be compared with Suzanne Danco’s version. What a pity that the muses have graced her with the sweetest voice possible, only to leave her without sufficient volume to carry her voice beyond the realm of intimate song, bar perhaps Dido’s lament in a miniature rendition. Nonetheless, her passing to the finals is right, and it enables us to hear that lovely voice again.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 1967.)

Sally Le Sage’s beautiful timbre impressed both Van Dongen and Hanekroot. Even though her voice wasn’t overtly large, Van Dongen was pleased with her semi finals rendition of ‘Rejoice greatly,’ from Händel’s The Messsiah. She convinced in Debussy’s ‘L’extase,’ brilliantly accompanied from Georges van Renesse. As for Hanekroot, his fretting over her small volume gradually took on the form of a lament, in the context of the sheer beauty of her voice. This beauty can fortunately still be traced today, since Le Sage made a fine career in the English hemisphere, after completing her studies at the Royal College of Music, and with Pierre Bernac on a scholarship in Paris. The beginnings of her career antedated her IVC participation, since from 1964 to 1967 she sang with the Deller Consort, with whom she recorded a good number of baroque pieces. Following her IVC victory, she appeared in concerts throughout Britain, Europe and the USA, including at the Vienna, Aix, Ghent and Three Choirs Festivals. She participated in Many BBC concerts and recitals. We mention specifically L'Enfant et les Sortileges in Leeds with Simon Rattle; Haydn’s Nelson Mass at Carnegie Hall, New York; Beethoven'sSymphony Nr. 9 for Dutch Television in Amsterdam; Mozart's C minor Mass at the Royal Festival Hall with Charles Groves; Tippett’s A Child of Our Time in Stockholm, conducted by the composer; Händel’s Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester; Gustav Mahler's Symphony Nr. 8 at the Albert Hall in London. She had opera appearances with Scottish Opera: The Woodbird in Siegfried, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne; Teofane in George Frideric Handel's Ottone at Sadler's Wells Theatre; Ann Trulove in The Rake's Progress at Cambridge Arts Theatre. Her Deller Consort recordings are mostly ensemble pieces. Likewise, her Anna in a 1971 Maria Stuarda with Montserrat Caballé, Shirley Verrett, and José Carreras hardly serves to sample her voice. This changes with her Teofano in Händel’s Ottone. Here, in a cast with Josephine Barstow as Gismonda, we have a beefy part for Le Sage:

Händel: Ottone 'E’ tale Otton?… Falsa immagine'
Sally Le Sage (soprano), Sadlers Wells - Charles Farncombe, October 23, 1971s