Tenor sings lieder during brain surgery

Tenor sings lieder during brain surgery

We just discovered a new video in which Slovenian opera singer Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne is undergoing surgery for a brain tumor at the University Medical Center in Utrecht. In order to test his brain function during the operation, the surgical team arranged for Ambrož to sing Schubert’s Winterreise to a piano accompaniment track while he was being operated on.

The video isn’t gory, but there are difficult moments (particularly given the tenderness in the song choice)!

He says of the video: “The neurosurgeon’s advice was to do an awake craniotomy so that I could sing during the surgery (on June13th 2014) in order to avoid deficits after the procedure. The music neuro team of the UMC in Utrecht was also involved in order to assist the surgery. I sing two (first and last) couplets of Schubert’s lied “Gute Nacht”: the minor – major transition in order to see if I can still recognise the key change. It’s been more than a year since and I’m doing fine, continuing my professional singing career.”

Clearly it’s pretty technical stuff on all levels. What a bunch of stars. Bravi!

So, this made us think. Are there any surgeons or medical people out there using our tracks in this way? Are you a singer who had an operation or medical procedure where our accompaniments came in handy? If so, please do share your story with us in the comments below or by email. 

This video was kindly brought to our attention by Christine Bennett. Thanks, Christine!