Opera singer’s vocal cords paralyzed during surgery: Hear how rehab changed his life ‘for good’

HOUSTON – Albert Garcia moved to Houston to sing with the Houston Grand Opera; however, before he began performing, his story took a dark turn.

During a spine surgery last year, Garcia’s vocal cords were accidentally paralyzed.

“Which is, of course, a possibility because they’re so close working in there. Luckily, it was just stretched, and it wasn’t severed completely, so that’s good. So that caused the right side of my vocal cord to be paralyzed so it doesn’t close correctly. So, what I had been doing is talking at a higher pitch because it’s easier to do that, but terribly wrong,” Garcia explained.

That’s when Dr. Marina-Elvira Papangelou at TIRR Memorial Hermann came to his rescue. She helped rehabilitate his voice.

Upon discharge, he sang the song, “For Good” from the hit musical “Wicked.”

As the song says, “And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend.”

Those words were equally true for Garcia and Papangelou, who met during a difficult time for the singer, but Dr. Papangelou helped him change course.