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Chris Ruel - June 2023
Ilanah Lobel-Torres has been training for most of her life to be an opera singer. She graduated with degrees in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and Mannes School of Music. In 2019 she joined the prestigious young artist program at Opera National de Paris and made her debut at Palais Garnier in January of 2020. Following COVID lockdown, she started noticing some struggles while singing. "I noticed I couldn’t sing through long phrases as I normally could. It wasn’t about new repertoire; it was with pieces I had been singing before. Yet, suddenly, I couldn’t make it to the end of the phrase. Sometimes, when warming up, if I ran out of air, I would start coughing."
Following an x-ray, she was diagnosed with primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma. "The first thing that came to my mind when they told me was a concert I had the following week. It was my immediate concern, which in hindsight, seems somewhat sad. They had just told me something very serious about my health, and I was thinking about my job. Singing is such an integral part of who I am. So the thought of it being taken away, and not by my choice, was really hard to cope with"
She completed six rounds of chemotherapy and was back to singing for the 2021-2022 season. Lobel-Torres described her first time on stage post-treatment saying, "I distinctly remember feeling like I was pouring out emotion and everything I had experienced through the art that I was singing. I could truly connect, and that was the best part."
Read Lobel-Torres' full interview here.
Original source: operawire.com