|A portrait of the Belgian soprano Marie Saxe.
Born Marie Constance Sasse on 26 January 1834, she made her début at Venice as Gilda in 1852. At the onset of her career she changed her name to Sax, then to Saxe when the instrument maker Adolphe sued her; when he sued again, she reverted to Sasse and was later known as Sass.
In 1859 she sang Eurydice at the Théâtre-Lyrique in the historic revival of Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, in Berlioz's version, with Pauline Viardot-Garcia as Orpheus. Engaged at the Paris-Opéra from 1860 to 1877, she sang Elisabeth in the revised Tannhäuser (1861) and created Sélika in L'Africaine (1865) and Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlos (1867).
Wagner was pleased with her Elisabeth in Tannhäuser but Verdi, who disliked her attitude to colleagues at rehearsal, was less pleased with her heroine in Don Carlos. When she was recommended for Amneris in Aida, he refused.
Married, briefly, to the bass Armand Castelmary, she retired in 1877. Her memoirs Souvenirs d'une artiste were published in Paris in 1902. She died on 8 November 1907.
[Source: New Grove Dictionary of Opera, published 1992.]
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