In January 2013 she lead the inaugural Amazwi Omzansi Africa Performing Arts International Festival in Durban, South Africa which included a singing competition, workshops, master classes and gala performance. She returns to Durban and The Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch annually to work with the singers of each vocal faculty.
She works with singers at the Royal Opera House on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, at Glyndebourne on the Jerwood Young Artists Programme, for Co-Opera Company, Associated Studios Opera Courses, and with British Youth Opera. Sally has a close relationship with Live Music Now, fronting their vocal and instrumental master class series in the aLuMNi programme. She adjudicates and examines for all UK conservatoires and is a member of the British Voice Association for whom she also leads class and workshops.
During her illustrious operatic career, Sally performed Carmen worldwide, first at ENO where she sang the role over a span of 20 years in several different productions, later at The Metropolitan Opera and in Berlin, Munich, Paris, Bregenz, Portland, for Opera North, and several times in New Zealand.
Her operatic debut was as Zerlina Don Giovanni with ENO who offered her a three year solo contract when she was only 23 years old. Beginning her career as a soprano, her early roles included Zerlina, Cherubino, Pamina, Micaela and Mimi. Later as a mezzo she sang the Composer, Octavian, Charlotte, Dido (Berlioz, Purcell) amongst others. Her years at ENO coincided with those of David Pountney and Mark Elder – a wonderfully productive period in British operatic history. She became a regular guest artist with the company singing over 40 roles. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Siebel Faust with Alfredo Kraus; at The Metropolitan Opera, Bayerisches Staatsoper, Munich and Opera National de Bastille, Paris as Carmen, Opera de Geneve, Switzerland as Fricka Der Ring, and at Houston Grand Opera as Polinesso Ariodante. Other acclaimed roles include Eboli Don Carlos, Azucena Il Trovatore, Amneris Aida, Orfeo (Gluck), Judith Bluebeard’s Castle, Kabanicha Katya Kabanova, Ottavia Poppea (also a BBC film), Dalilah Samson et Dalilah, and Herodias Salome. At the Metropolitan Opera she has sung Carmen, Queen Isabella The Voyage by Philip Glass, and Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow.
Sally has enjoyed equal success on the concert platform where she has performed with all the UK’s leading orchestras and internationally with Sir Mark Elder, Sir Charles Mackerras, Richard Hickox, Paul Daniel, Kirril Petrenko, Riccardo Chailli, Daniel Baremboim, Gerard Schwartz and Richard Farnes. She has sung semi-staged performances of Judith Bluebeard’s Castle with the Symphony Orchestras of Bordeaux, Houston, Seattle and Porto, Portugal.
Sally has performed and sung with the Royal Ballet L’Invitation aux Voyages, and presented a one woman show "Sally Burgess’s Women” directed by Keith Warner. A solo tour of "Something Wonderful – the life and music of Richard Rodgers” was created for Opera North. At the Barbican she sang and presented "Harold Arlen – Who?” a two week run based on his life and music, both with jazz ensemble. Sally was nominated for "Best Actress in a Musical” at the Olivier Awards for her Julie Laverne Showboat in the Opera North/RSC 10 week run at the London Palladium.
Sally made her directorial debut for Tete a Tete Opera in the summer of 2009 in Mark Glentworth’s new opera Ula followed by a new production of Cosi van Tutte for English Chamber Opera. She directed the world premiere of Sonya’s Story during the summer of 2010 to excellent national reviews, a production that will tour internationally both in it’s current one act form and as the complete opera Uncle Vanya due to premiere in 2014. Productions of Magic Flute in 2011 and Poppea in 2012 for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Undergraduate program were followed in the summer of 2012 by her new production of Il Trovatore for Dorset Opera, UK. Her GSMD production for 2013 was Albert Herring and 2014 Nozze di Figaro. In July 2013 she directed her new and much acclaimed production of Cosi fan Tutte for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.