A Slovenian opera singer Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne was diagnosed with a brain tumor (a glioblastoma). During his surgery, the neurosurgeon’s advice was to keep him awake. This is significantly important to monitor if he can speak or perform high-level functions as surgeons work on him and avoid deficits after the procedure.
In the video above, Bajec-Lapajne sang the first and last couplets of Franz Schubert’s lied “Gute Nacht” in minor-major transition in order to see if he can still recognize the key change which he relies on heavily as a professional opera singer. The operation was commenced on June 2014.
Around the 2:40 mark, you’ll see something alarming happen to Bajec-Lapajne as he slurs his words and singing slows to a halt. But that’s not an indication of something going wrong, exactly: Surgeons need to know what parts of the brain will wreak this kind of havoc if they’re interfered with. Bajec-Lapajne’s scary moment was exactly the point of the exercise, showing surgeons where not to go during the tumor removal.
All is well after he bounces back to the beautiful performance. Bajec-Lapajne writes on his YouTube page that he’s doing fine a year later, and continues to amaze the world with his talent in singing classical music.
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