Cancer claims prominent US music critic, 68

Cancer claims prominent US music critic, 68


norman lebrecht

November 28, 2020

The St Louis music critic Sarah Bryan Miller died today after a ten-year history of cancer.

A former mezzo-soprano at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, she was respected equally by performers and fellow-journalists, and held in high affection on both sides.



  • Straussian says:

    Very sad to hear this! I often ran into her at Santa Fe Opera and Chicago Lyric, though not in recent seasons… now I know why. RIP Sarah Bryan Miller.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    For those who knew her, Sarah (who went by Bryan in her later years), was a tour-de-force in St. Louis. She will be remembered for her dedication to the orchestra, in particular, and to all the many artists with whom she humbly became friends with over the years. On a personal note, her friendship will be a part of my heart forever. In the latter years when her health situation declined, she shared her valiant fight, no matter how difficult, on social media with such a force of energy and positive thinking that all one could do is fight with her and be totally inspired. On a musical note, her kindness in sharing reviews of our recordings will be eternally appreciated. Rest well, dear friend, but do enjoy watching over the world and inspire us to continue in your legacy.

  • Gerald says:

    This is very sad. She appeared as an apprentice in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s first production of Meistersinger in 1977. These performances are still fondly remembered by me and many other local Wagnerites.

  • Che Tristezza! says:

    A wonderful lady. She sang in the chorus at the lyric opera of Chicago for many years before she became a critic. So sorry to here of her passing. Rest ok Peace dear lady.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Loved her writing and insights into performances. I never met her but always looked forward to a byline. We need more music reviewers who are this gifted,

  • William Safford says:

    I used to attend performances of the St. Louis Symphony from time to time.

    One day over a decade ago, I attended a performance of the SLSO in Powell Hall. I heard a fine performance.

    The next day, I read the review of that concert by Miller.

    She attacked a member of the orchestra. She accused that musician of terrible playing and called for that musician to be fired. (I do not remember the exact wording, and I cannot find that review online, but it was something to that effect.)

    That was false. That musician’s playing that evening was of the high caliber that one routinely hears in an orchestra of its caliber.

    I subsequently learned that this poison pen review was not an outlier.

    • I was also a victim of Miller’s poison pen. She was a failed mezzo soprano in Chicago and took her frustrations out on other Chicago singers. I was professional artist with Lyric Opera for 25 years as well as artistic director of Light Opera Works for 20 years. I could not Garner a positive review from her at any time both a singer and stage director. It was definitely personal and biased. Reviewers should never be past performers. They will always have an axe to grind. The wonderful PR job of her obituary stating she erred on the side of charity in her reviews is laughable.

  • Paul says:

    The week before the Met Opera broadcast its new (2001) production of Strauss’s DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN Ms. Miller gave a preview to the Saturday afternoon radio audience. Mainly she lambasted the opera’s creators for being so stupid as to believe the world needed more children being born (“obviously they are men”)—clearly missing the fact the opera deals in symbols. I will never understand why the Met allowed someone who so totally misunderstood FRAU to be the only one to talk about it to talk about it during that preview.