Tenor Russell Watson in Critical Condition Following Emergency Brain Surgery

Classic Arts News   Tenor Russell Watson in Critical Condition Following Emergency Brain Surgery
Tenor and crossover star Russell Watson was rushed to a hospital near Manchester today for emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor, according to reports from British agencies and newspapers.

He is currently listed as being in critical condition, but The Daily Telegraph reports that he seems to be improving after a three-hour operation. "The surgery went very well," said Michael Stroud, executive director of the Alexandra Hospital in Cheshire. "The family are at the hospital and he was sat up and talking this morning," he told the paper.

"Russell is conscious," his manager, Richard Thompson, told Reuters, "We've got him back."

The 40-year-old Watson worked in a factory in early adulthood and sang in pubs and clubs before being discovered singing the aria "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, the number that made a pop star of Luciano Pavarotti in the U.K. Nicknamed "The People's Tenor," Watson has not yet performed in staged opera but has sold more than four million crossover classical recordings and thrilled large crowds in live concerts and, notably, at major soccer and rugby matches.

News of Watson's health problems first came out last year, when he was flown to London to have brain surgery after suffering severe headaches while recording an album in Los Angeles. He had initially been told that his pain was due to stress (he retorted, "The only thing that's stressing me is this pain in my head," according to the Telegraph), but following an MRI, surgeons operated and removed two golf-ball-sized tumors from his skull, according to The Times of London.

The pain returned yesterday, again in a recording session. The Times quotes Stroud as saying that, while Watson in the studio, "he suddenly became incapacitated with multiple symptoms including a dramatic deterioration of vision." An MRI revealed re-growth of the tumor as well as bleeding, and he was immediately scheduled for an operation this morning.

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