"'Sometimes when I think of all that I do for my voice, I think I don't want to go on,'....She says that after 10 years on stage, most singers develop common cold-like symptoms year-round, 'because we breathe in dirt, dust and odors' while performing. Ailments affecting the breathing passages occur as frequently for singers as joint problems for professional tennis players, Kasarova explains. And like athletes in a fiercely competitive environment, some singers turn to drugs to perform instead of opting for a rest. But the gain is only short term. Overuse of steroids in the form of cortisone is common, say singers and doctors treating them. The treatment masks problems with inflamed vocal cords but the problem worsens to the point where operations may become necessary. That, in turn can change a voice – and even ruin it. Kasarova describes cortisone use as 'an infernal circle' that sometimes becomes an addiction. Others, she says, abuse sleeping pills to try to escape stresses of performing that have grown in the past decades as stages get bigger, orchestras louder and opera seasons longer than ever." [Source] Watch excerpts of the mezzo-soprano after the jump.