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Toby Spence: Better to talk about the cancer than face the gossip

The British tenor, who announced yesterday via his agent that he was recovering from thyroid cancer, has given a beautiful, forthright interview to Richard Morrison in the (London) Times (paywall).

His decision to come out with details of the condition was prompted, he says, by the gossipy nature of the opera world. After pretending that recent withdrawals were due to a chest infection, he told Morrison: ‘I want to tell the truth. I’ve had to cancel a couple of concerts with an excuse and you can’t sustain that for long. I can’t, anyway.’

His candour is wonderfully refreshing, stopping the rumour mill and rallying universal support for his courage. Next week, Toby will go into rehearsal for Billy Budd at English National Opera, conducted by his best friend Ed Gardner, and the entire world will be willing him to triumph.

Read the interview if you can. It blows a mighty hole in the fake curtain of what life as an opera singer is really like.

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