Cancer Survivor Sylvia McNair Returns With a New Look

Music at Southampton with Sylvia McNair and Ted Taylor, July 24, 2008.(Photo: Gordon M. Grant / Stony Brook Southampton)
Music at Southampton with Sylvia McNair and Ted Taylor, July 24, 2008.(Photo: Gordon M. Grant / Stony Brook Southampton)

It’s not everyday one reads a news story that warms the heart with happiness. Here’s mine.

We’ve been following Sylvia McNair’s opera career for many years, especially since she has Ohio roots in Mansfield. (Greetings to all our listeners up there!) When we learned she was diagnosed with breast cancer, we were concerned – very concerned.

For a while we kept learning of yet another wonderful soprano being struck with this horrendous disease: Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Ruth Ann Swenson, to name a few. So imagine my happiness in coming across this article on McNair.

For Soprano, A New Work, Fresh Outlook
A few years ago, Sylvia McNair felt she had reached “the bottom of the bottom.” Not long after discovering that her husband of two decades wanted out of their marriage, she learned that she had breast cancer and might have only six months to live.

Today, the Ohio-born soprano could not look healthier or happier as she rehearses a new work fashioned out of Kurt Weill songs and created expressly for her by the American Opera Theater…

“My grandma used to say, ‘If it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger,’ and she was right,” McNair says. “She was always right. But there was a lot of loss.” (Baltimore Sun)

She has a new look, a new love, and a new show. She describes her crossover from opera to cabaret with this song sketch.

Congratulations, Sylvia! You look MARVELOUS and sound great. You Go, Girl!

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