HOUSTON, Texas — A Houston Opera Singer thought his days on stage might be over after a complication from surgery took his voice.
But months of hard work and dedication have doctors now calling him a miracle.
For a professional opera singer, every performance is powerful, but for Albert Garcia, no stage or audience will ever match the power of the one he performed a few weeks ago.
Only a year ago, Albert’s love of opera and his passion for performance was paralyzed.
“They found that I had some spinal damage that had been accruing over the last decade or so. Turns out it was hereditary," Garcia said.
Albert needed surgery to help him walk again, but during that, his right vocal cord was paralyzed. The price he paid to have his legs back was his voice.
“There was a point where, if I would’ve known this was going to happen, I would’ve preferred not to be able to walk than to not be able to sing," Garcia said.
Albert had just moved to Houston and was one month into his contract with Houston Grand Opera. His dream was ripped away before the curtain came up.
“They kind of helped me discover that I had a strength within myself that I didn’t know I really had," Garcia.
But then, he met a new teacher.
“I think that I made a difference in his life, but I don’t think it was me. I think it was him because he did all of the work," TIRR Memorial Hermann Speech-Language Pathologist Dr. Marina-Elvira Papangelou, CCC-SLP, said.
Ten months at TIRR Memorial Hermann, Dr. Papangelou helped Albert not only find his voice, but himself, yet again.
“He’s fabulous. He can sing anything he wishes now," Dr. Papangelou said.
“I may not be back to what I was 100%, but as long as I'm getting better and better, that’s all that really matters," Garcia said.
And in return, Albert used that gift as it came time to say goodbye, serenading her with a song, "For Good," from the Broadway musical Wicked.
“I was touched very much… and.. I’m going to cry," Dr. Papangelou said.
And with speech therapy now behind him, Albert’s next stop is the stage.
“As long as you have yourself, your mindset, your loved ones, that’s all that really matters," Garcia said.