Opera singer Dame Sarah Connolly feared breast cancer treatment would affect voice

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Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, 58, who was diagnosed in 2019, revealed that sharing her experience with fellow musicians was rewarded with an “outpouring of love and affection”. She said: “People are very private about it. But I thought I am not ashamed of this ‑ I’m afraid.”

She said chemo chemicals had a “terrifying” affect on her: “I first thought ‘Oh Sarah you are being a big diva now, stop it and get over it’. But I just thought, ‘No I am in real pain here, this is terrible’.” 

But because of her “fighting spirit” she actually sung a recital after her first round of chemotherapy.

She told host Lauren Laverne: “I felt I was singing on 65 percent, like I had been punched hard in the stomach. I ran my hands through my hair before I went on and a clump came out. 

“I thought, ‘Don’t do that again or you’ll have nothing left by the second half’.”

Dame Sarah chose Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven and David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel among her desert island discs.

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio 4

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