by Daniel Hathaway
When Jeffrey Strauss sings Georg Philipp Telemann’s Funeral Cantata for an Artistically Trained Canary with Apollo’s Fire in four performances this weekend (March 7-10), the baritone will be returning to the stage for the first time following major heart surgery in the fall.
The affliction that sidelined him for six months came as a complete surprise. After singing the ensemble’s Baroque Music Barn concerts last June, Strauss took to bed for a week with a fever that persisted, eventually sending him to his doctor in Chicago for tests. “A blood culture finally identified it as a serious but not that uncommon bacterial infection,” he said in a telephone conversation. After five days in hospital, Strauss was sent home with five weeks’ worth of intravenous antibiotics and an appointment with a cardiologist — the bacteria had damaged a valve in his heart that needed to be replaced.
“I had a wonderful surgeon,” Strauss said. “When he found out I was a singer, he immediately said, ‘I’ll tell the anesthesiologist to put a smaller tube down your windpipe.’ [Read more…]