Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Eric Jordan, 42, was unable to speak after a TIA. But willpower and therapy have put him back on stage.
Losing control of the instrument that lives inside your body is terrifying. You lose the precious tool through which you are trained to communicate and express beauty. Losing control of so much more than that, through a stroke, and so young, must have been an unimaginable ordeal. I am full of admiration for Eric for pulling himself back from that harrowing experience, finding his voice again in every way, and I’m full of admiration for those who supported his route back to professional singing. This is a great story, and one worth getting beyond the 30 second commercial on the video to witness.
This is a hopeful and inspiring story.
Do we know if he has performed since the stroke, or whether he is still in preparation?
This wonderful story brings to mind the not so wonderful story of 23-year Met veteran Mezzo Wendy White, who was injured in a fall from a platform during Faust and was forced to sue the Met for her fees or some level of support. I am unclear if that situation has been resolved, but it was terrible what was done.
It seems it is not all love and support at the Metropolitan Opera.
I really feel for Eric here, and as Janey has said this is a hopeful and inspiring story.
I developed a rare form of migraine as an undergraduate that affected my speech and ability to play the piano temporarily. I was very concerned that I would be forced to take a year out of my Music Degree, but things resolved quickly enough and I was able to complete the course in the three years graduating with an Upper Second Class Degree.
To read that a fellow musician had similar anxieties due to a TIA must have been very frightening. That he is able to contemplate a return to performing is fantastic news.
Poor guy! I imagine how despairing life has been for him after the stroke. Singers usually identify with singing as the reason for their lives. It’s a very dangerous thing to bet all hope on a singing career as the reason to live.
Eric, what a harrowing experience! Every singer’s nightmare. I’m glad I’m getting the happier part of the news. I’ve often read that singing is useful for speaking defects, even for non-singers. Lots of people conquered stuttering this way, Robert Merrill, for one. We all know singers that seem to be singing even when they talk; maybe that’s the method of their madness. I’m pleased to hear that the Met knows a good one when it’s got one. Keep ahonkin’!
Thank you everybody for your support. I performed in Don Carlos at the Met, The Aspern Papers at Dallas Opera and in Carmen at Belleayre Festival since my stroke. I’m covering roles in Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Andrea Chenier at the Met this season and I will sing Elijah with the Cesky Krumlov Festival this summer.
Eric, I remember you fondly as a fellow student at NEC! Your story has inspired me. I have been diagnosed with vocal nodules and while I don’t sing on the stage much any longer, I teach music and use my voice everyday. Not being able to use our God given instrment is very difficult. I am in vocal therapy and doing well. I pray you continue to heal…thank you for sharing your story.
@Victoria: Nodules are no fun either! All the best with the vocal therapy.
@Eric: Thank you for posting your reply; it was extremely heartening to read it.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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