90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Throat Surgery And Top Singers

With Mike Pesca in for Tom Ashbrook

Adele, Keith Urban, R. Kelly and more. What’s behind the surge in throat surgery for top singers?

British singer Adele performs on the stage of the Miles Davis hall during the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Saturday, July 12, 2008. (AP)

British singer Adele performs on the stage of the Miles Davis hall during the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Saturday, July 12, 2008. (AP)

If you want to sing out sing out.  Unless you can’t. A plague, or at least a spate of cases has afflicted vocalists of late.  Nodules, polyps – hemorrhaged vocal chords.

The soaring English singer Adele has been grounded, Keith Urban, put out to pasture, John Mayer – waitin’ for his throat to heal – all have gone under the knife and laser or are about to.  This isn’t just coincidence say the voice experts and doctors who tend to the broken throated.  Singers are pushing the limits of sound, and some are paying the price.

This hour, On Point: Voices lost and found.

-Mike Pesca

Guests

Shirley Halperin, Music editor for the Hollywood Reporter.

Dr. Steven Zeitels, Director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation (the Voice Center) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Penelope Bitzas, Professor of music at Boston University. A mezzo-soprano, she has performed in a variety of musical genres, including opera, contemporary, solo, and orchestral.

Rich Juzwiak, Pop culture writer for The Daily.

From The Reading List

MTV “Now that Kellz has his voice back, he has a few things to say. First, he’d like to say thanks to the fans who held him down during his rough patch and give a shout out to the doctors who stayed focused during his surgery.”

Adele’s blog “Guys, im heartbroken and worried to tell you that yet again im experiencing problems with my voice. its ridiculous i know! i cant believe it myself. i follow all the advice im given and stick to regimes, rules and practices to the best of my ability but it seems to simply not be enough.”

Boston Globe “She’s 23, the hottest singer on the planet, and about to have a leading Boston laryngeal surgeon repair the hemorrhaging in her throat that forced her to cancel her North American tour.”

Photos

Professor Penelope Bitzas in the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Professor Penelope Bitzas in the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Dr. Steven Zeitels outside the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Dr. Steven Zeitels outside the On Point studio. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Video
Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 22, 2014
President Barack Obama gestures during a statement in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in Washington. Obama spoke after Congress voted to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State group. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A tough, critical examination of US plans to take on ISIS. Strategy in the hot seat.

Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People's Climate March Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. (AP/Jason DeCrow)

Big climate protests in New York before a big UN summit. Activist and author Naomi Klein says change the economy or die. She’s with us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 19, 2014
Joseph O'Neill (courtesy of the author)

Author of “Netherland,” novelist Joseph O’Neill is back, with “The Dog,” on globalization, capitalism, and self-discovery in Dubai.

 
Sep 19, 2014
No campaigners celebrate as results come in at the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh,Scotland,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Scottish voters have rejected independence and decided that Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom. The result announced early Friday was the one favored by Britain's political leaders, who had campaigned hard in recent weeks to convince Scottish voters to stay. It dashed many Scots' hopes of breaking free and building their own nation. (AP Photo/David Cheskin)

ISIS and arming Syrian fighters. Scotland rejects independence. NFL turmoil. US troops and Ebola. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 19, 2014
Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Lots of big, contentious topics on the show this week — from Zionism to early education, corporal punishment to development in the Grand Canyon.

More »
Comment
 
Talking Through The Issue Of Corporal Punishment For Kids
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

On Point dove into the debate over corporal punishment on Wednesday — as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces charges in Texas after he allegedly hit his four-year-old son with a switch.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

More »
Comment