STAGE TUBE: Opera Singer Eric Jordan Struggles with Speech After Stroke
On September 20, 2012, Opera singer Eric Jordan had a life-threatening stroke. The stroke left him with aphasia, which makes it hard to read, write or say what he means and apraxia, which is the inability to execute purposeful movements. Jordan said, Luckily for me, the stroke primarily affected the Broca area of my brain, which is responsible for speech production. I say "luckily" because I can now sing with better verbal fluency than I can speak."
Only eight weeks after his stroke, Jordan returned to the Metropolitan Opera to perform. He still struggles with his speech, however, and suffers from memory loss.
Jordan said in the CNN article, "I've also learned to speak up for myself. Before my stroke, I lived and worked in fear because opera can be a very bloodthirsty business. I will never forget when one of my directors told me, "You're too nice!" After he said that, I bowed my head sheepishly and waited for his next direction."
He went on to say, "But in my earliest recovery phase, I vowed that I would never let fear seep back into my life and stop me from becoming a better husband and father. After all, singing opera is sustained, controlled yelling. My speech pathologist taught me graciously that speaking loudly, slowly and in short sentences is a good way to speak through my troubles. Stroke survivors can take their cues from the stage and 'Live it out loud!'"