Death of an unlucky US soprano

The impressive soprano Elinor Ross died on March 6, aged 93.

Her radiant career was cut off when, after singing Aida at the Met in 1979, she woke the next morning with facial paralysis, diagnosed as a form of Bell’s Palsy.

She endured the loss with stoicism and warmth.

Obituary here.

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  • Bell’s palsy usually freezes one half of the face, and usually clears up after a few months. I think George London might have had it at one time; there are videos of him singing and one half of his face is visibly paralyzed.

    • No. One half of London’s vocal mechanism (vocal cords) never worked. After trying a treatment to restore the affected part, he wasn’t satisfied with the result and he retired from singing at age 46.

      • It’s not that they never worked – in the ’63/’64 season one side became paralyzed. He tried injections but they didn’t work long term.

  • Elinor Ross’s name is familiar, but I didn’t know of her palsy. The very fine Danish tenor Aksel Schiotz suffered a stroke that paralyzed half his face but continued to sing as a baritone, which is how I heard him in recital at San Franisco State College where he was then teaching.

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