Sad news: Cancer claims an exuberant British soprano

Sad news: Cancer claims an exuberant British soprano


norman lebrecht

November 28, 2018

There is deep sadness this morning at the death of Sally Silver, also known as Silver Sally.

She was an immensely popular soprano with English Touring Opera, and elsewhere. Raised in South Africa, she sang at ENO, Scottish Opera, Metz, Moscow and Nederlandse Reisopera.

Her husband, Jeremy Silver, is an international conductor. Emily Gottlieb, chief executive of the National Opera Studio, has circulated this notice:

I am afraid I have some sad news to share.  Jeremy Silver’s wife, Sally, died yesterday morning, after a long battle with a terminal brain tumour. Sally was a regular visitor to the NOS, a great supporter of the Studio, and especially of her husband. We last saw her at a performance of 12:40, which she said she wasn’t going to miss. She loved sharing in the development of young singers and many of you will know she was herself a wonderful singer and artist. She was incredibly brave in the face of her illness, with a fortitude and openness about her situation that we all admired greatly. She will be enormously missed, by her family, her collaborators and her great number of friends.

Sally, who was just 50 years old,  is survived by Jeremy and by their daughter Charlotte.



  • Basso says:

    The wonderful Sally Silver was most definitely a South African soprano, and will be very sorely missed by many of us in the opera community.

  • Guus Mostart says:

    So sad to hear Sally passed away. During my time at the Reisopera she was a regular guest (Opera Seria and Tales of Hoffmann stand out) and a huge hit with our audiences. A wonderful singer and colleague, Sally was a star. May she rest in peace.

  • Nicholas Folwell says:

    Sally was a beautiful lady and a beautiful singer! My thoughts are with Jeremy and Charlotte.

  • Anyone who has ever met her can remember an original joke she made.

  • MGUK says:

    I never knew a singer who at the height of the success would dedicate so much of her time energy, generosity and guidance to so many. I myself owe the South African extension of my career to her.

    Her three heroines in the Les d’Hoffmann in Rennes are the stuff of a legend; her “O rendetemi la speme” at Scottish Opera was the most exquising sound I’d ever heard; her Duchess in Powder Her Face (Opera de Metz) and Greek (Music Theatre Wells) were the proofs that she could equally excel in the 21st Century repertorie and hold her ground as a powerful modern-day singing actor. Her Massenet recordings under Richard Bonynge offer pure delight, made all the more special by the fact that as a non-French speaker, Sally brought to the chansons a fine nuanced texture both to Massenet’s music and to the lyrics by Silvestre et al.

    She’ll be greatly missed by us all; she had great faith in her husband Jeremyˋs masterful perfectionism and his unique conducting skills. He is as àbout to take over the Opera School at the Univeristy of Cape Town. Sally, knowing her days had were limited, urged Jeremy to persevere. Generous and selfless was he until the end.

    Her absence on- and off-stage will be sorely felt. We’ve lost a gem of a person whose talent will live on in our memories and in the recordings. Sleep well, dearest Sally.