Sanderson, Sibyl



American soprano, who was born in Sacramento, California; the daughter of Chief Justice Sanderson of the Supreme Court of California, who gave her every advantage from her earliest years. Her childhood was passed in her native city and in San Francisco. After being given the best training for an operatic career that America afforded at that time, she was taken by her mother to Paris when nineteen years of age and placed in the Conservatory there, where she remained two years. Her operatic debut was made at The Hague in 1888, in Manon, a role that she sang two hundred and fifty times in various European opera houses. Her Paris debut was made the following year at the Opera Comique. At the beginning of her career, Massenet, ,the composer, took an interest in her, taught her and wrote for her his opera, Esclarmonde, keeping in mind her remarkably high register. This opera she sang with great brilliancy at the Opera Comique during the Exposition, and at the close of her engagement there was engaged for the Theatre de la Monnaie at Brussels, where for two seasons she was the leading prima donna. Massenet believing that there were greater honors in store for the young singer took her to Mme. Marchesi, with whom for two years she studied diligently, leaving Marchesi's classroom to make a brilliant success. In 1894 she made her first appearance at the Paris Opera in Thais, which Massenet had composed for her. In it she scored a remarkable success. Miss Sanderson created the role of Phryne", in the opera of that name by Saint-Saens, sang Elsa in Lohengrin, and Juliet in Gounod's opera, Romeo et Juliette. She was a great favorite in St. Petersburg, and Paris, but was coldly received in London and in her own country. She sang with the Maurice Grau Opera Company in the United States during the season of 1902, and her failure to score in her own country, after her many artistic triumphs abroad, is said to have hastened her death. She died the next year in Paris. Miss Sanderson's greatest successes were made in the roles of Manon and in Phryne. She was considered an admirable actress as well as a talented singer and had great beauty of face and figure. Her voice was a pure soprano of very wide range, her middle and upper tones being phenomenally clear, musical and full in volume. In 1897 Miss Sanderson was married to Antonio Terry, a rich Cuban planter, residing in Paris. Two years later he died, and, pending the settlement of his estate, the singer returned to the operatic stage, singing at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and in Moscow. She also returned to the Opera Comique, in Paris, the scene of her early triumphs, taking the leading role in The Carmelites by Rynaldo Han. She continued to reside in Paris most of the time until her death in 1903.