I found this article about how Opera singers deal with the changes in their voice throughout their cycle. I have just used google translate, so some of the words may not be right! If anyone can tell me different I’d appreciate it!!

How do opera singers live their rules?

Posted on Friday November 23rd, 2018 at 17h52

Menstruation affects half of humanity. If each woman lives her cycle differently, the lyric singers all agree on one point: the rules have an impact on their voice and their song.

The first study on the cause of rule pain dates from 2016., © Getty / PredraImage

Once every 28 days, women have their period. A natural phenomenon where the unfertilized uterus contracts to expel the internal mucosa, causing bleeding. Every woman lives in a very personal way her rules: pain or not, rules that last two or seven days, different effects on the psychological level, etc.

Even if the rules are different for each woman, it seems that opera singers (and singers in general) are subject to certain specificities related to the impact of menstrual cycles on their voices. Testimonies, supported by several scientific studies (including one conducted in the 90s in France by the phoniatre Jean Abitbol), confirm that there is indeed a premenstrual vocal syndrome.

Some times are more difficult than others, but the worst case is when I feel that my vocal cords do not want to bite.

“Every month I am surprised that it works less well with my voice … I forget and I wonder:” But why can not I sing? “When in fact, these are just my rules! “, Jokes soprano Elsa Dreisig. “Some times are more difficult than others, but the worst case is when I feel that my vocal cords do not want to bite.” A sensation shared by the singer Eva Zaïcik: “The connection is difficult, the vocal cords are less flexible, the treble less round, there are holes in the voice, that is to say that the harmonic spectrum is not there and the voice is not complete. ”

Swelling and inflammation of the vocal cords

This modification of the vocal cords is often related to inflammation of the vocal cords, because before and during menstruation, some parts of the body swell, which can cause mild edema. To remedy this, most singers take Antadys, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Other solution ? “Do with and continue,” relativizes Julie Fuchs. For her, the rules are a “test that is part of the life of a singer”. The French soprano especially feels a “weaker physical state. As soon as I get sick, it’s always then! She continues. Another consequence for Julie Fuchs, “everything that is more difficult becomes more difficult to do”, such as treble, pianissimo … His voice becomes less agile.

The same goes for Elsa Dreisig: “The ease and the naturalness go away during the menses, which does not prevent you from singing, but adds a lot of stress because normally everything works, but here, it is necessary to take again the technical gestures and warm up your voice even more. ” Preparing your voice longer but also drink a lot of water and try to rest are some recipes of singers to better live their rules.

My voice is more fragile and tired because my body is not there to support it so I lose my bearings.

And if really the symptoms take a place too important, the singers who take the pill chained two platelets to avoid having their period. This is the case for the soprano Barbara Derathé who sometimes lives very painful rules: “I am OK physically and it plays a lot at the level of my breathing”, she testifies. The singer has a backache, kidney, and swollen belly, which has the effect of limiting his body: “The treble is harder to support, I have difficulty breathing because of pain in the perineum my voice is more fragile and tired because my body is not there to support it so I lose my bearings. ”

Still a taboo?

The four singers talk about it with their teachers, who are often the first to know when they will soon have their periods just by condition or by voice. But it is more difficult to discuss the subject with professionals in the field such as conductors. “With the young chefs, I talk about it, I tell them that it’s not the right time of the month for me … But with the older ones, I do not say anything,” explains Eva Zaïcik. Julie Fuchs, she does not speak directly but expresses its general condition: “I tell them that I’m tired, it’s worse than other days because I’m aware. ”

Beyond the monthly difficulties encountered by these lyric singers, the rules are also a way for her to listen to their bodies: “We must accept to lose blood and not try to compensate for this loss by force or to try something where the voice could not answer. These days we sing with the present moment, “relativizes Elsa Dreisig. The soprano even finds a use in these periods: “This fragility serves me and I use it. I marry these feelings, even if they are unpleasant and I take a step back on these difficult days where the body and the voice are different “.

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