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An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer and Life Transposed

By Kathleen Watt

Heliotrope Books (October 10, 2023)

About The Project

“A heartrending journey recalled with lucidity and poise
Author Kathleen Watt is...a sharply descriptive writer... unafraid... unapologetically frank... [with] a wry, sometimes self-effacing sense of humor that brings levity to a distressing subject... The result is a finely textured and courageous literary memoir that is inspirational,
and at times, darkly amusing.”

—Kirkus Reviews



Rearranged: An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer and Life Transposed tells of leaving the operatic stage for a starring role opposite the Big C. Bone cancer in Watt's cheek ended her career as an opera singer and brought her face to face with mortality, disfigurement, the meaning and uses of beauty—and a lot of left over pieces.


A small corps of medical elites convened to excoriate her diseased bones with surgical wizardry and lethal toxins, and stayed on to restore Watt to herself through a brutal alchemy of kindness and titanium screws.


Rearranged is a tale of letting go to hold on, of putting old pieces to new uses—and of the unlikely arrangements that make it all work out.

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About the Author

Trained in illustration and painting, Kathleen Watt moved to Manhattan to become a professional opera singer. For years, she enjoyed the privilege of singing some of the world's greatest music as a principal soloist, and for a few seasons with the extra chorus of New York's Metropolitan Opera Company. She was still peddling high C's when bone cancer settled in behind her cheek.


So began her greatest and least anticipated adventure, the subject of her new memoir Rearranged: An Opera Singer's Facial Cancer and Life Transposed. 


Pivoting yet again, Watt discovered another perfectly good voice and became a feature writer. Now she tries to bring a wide-angle lens to everything she writes about the arts, news or culture, and as aways, the glorious human parade.



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