Inside the Head of an Opera Singer

opera singer Michael Volle MRI

A video recently surfaced showing the MRI of German Opera superstar Michael Volle performing an Aria from Richard Wagner’s 1845 opera “Tannhäuser” in real-time.  The study, commissioned by the Freiburg Institute for Musicians’ Medicine, is a part of an ENT (Ears, Nose, and Throat) study of the mechanics of what happens while someone is singing.

Before we get too far in to this, check out the video HERE.

What stands out most is the movement of the tongue. It's distracting even. As you look even more closely, you'll start to see the other parts of the body that are contributing to the act of singing. It can be assumed, that since Mr. Volle has had such a successful career thus far, that the mechanics of his singing are proper and worth studying to learn what we can. 

And while most people, including the researchers are looking at those mechanics, my eyes went directly to his neck. With a trained eye, you can see that he has some pretty noticeable degeneration happening. And while I don't know if he has any health complaints currently, I'm concerned for the longevity of his career.

There are a lot of components of singing, and the jaw opening and closing is one of them. In singing, especially when opening the mouth widely, the neck gets involved. If the neck is degenerating, as in Mr. Volle's case, and it continues to degenerate, it could drastically affect the thing he loves to do and has made his career out of! Now, I don't know Michael Volle personally, but I suspect that he may want to decide when he's done performing instead of his body telling him it's time to stop.

At Encore Chiropractic, we use specialized technology to identify the underlying cause of structural damage, just like Michael Volle, for our singers and performers. The rigors of training and practicing can take it's toll on the body, and it's better to identify if there is a problem now even if you don't feel like there is a problem yet. 

It is easier (and cheaper) to prevent a problem than it is to correct one.

If you have ever felt tension in your neck after extended practice sessions or a performance, this could be an indicator of a growing problem. The only way to know for sure if you are headed towards a potential issue is to be evaluated by a specialist. If you would like to explore whether you may be suffering from spinal degeneration, you can always call us at Encore Chiropractic. We offer a complimentary consultation for those interested in seeing if we may be able to help.

Call us today at 646-518-8696!