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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)

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