Friday, January 29, 2010

The Face of Success (the rest of the story)

Quick update on that trio of spectacular facial phenomena:

1. Susan Boyle? Well on her way to fulfilling her celebrity promise, which some estimates figure at around eight million smackers. After turning Simon Cowell’s famously bristled head with her Britain’s Got Talent audition, and setting records in cyber-views of her clips, Boyle was snatched up by the Columbia label. Her debut album became the most pre-ordered album of all time, and sold an astounding 3 million copies around the world in its opening week, including 701,000 copies in the U.S., giving her the best-selling debut album by any woman since SoundScan began tracking in 1991. A U.S. concert tour was hastily calendared. Larry King and Oprah lined her up. When her first CD was listed on, pre-orders of the CD brought it to #1 within three days, nearly three months prior to its release. “It seems long-term success is hers to accept or reject,” said Gaylord Fields, Senior Editor of AOL Music.

2.  With her repertoire of more than thirty of opera’s most demanding roles, Angela Meade is booked through summer 2010 in such venues as The Metropolitan Opera and the Caramoor Festival. She has been described as “a lavishly gifted young soprano” who sings with “uncommon beauty and strength of tone” (The New Yorker), and praised in the New York Times for her fine coloratura technique, her voluminous voice, her intelligence and elegance, her expressive ease. Angela Meade may never, alas, be rolling in the dough generated by a “reality” show multi-media frenzy [NB that deserves a post all its own--stay tuned]. She is nevertheless a rising star in the rarefied galaxy of great voices, whose opulent gifts quite simply bedazzle her fans.

3. Brigham and Women's Hospital Partial Facial Transplant in Boston was awarded a grant of  $3.4 million from the Department of Defense, to pay for face transplants for veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have survived catastrophic war injuries, but with serious deformities.  Early in 2009, doctors at Brigham and Women's performed America's second face transplant, giving James Maki a new face after a disfiguring subway accident. With the new grant, the hospital will be able to perform six to eight more operations over the next year and a half, and immeasurably advance face transplant technology.