Watch: Tenor is asked to sing as he undergoes brain surgery

Watch: Tenor is asked to sing as he undergoes brain surgery


norman lebrecht

August 11, 2015

The Dutch-based Slovenian opera singer Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne underwent surgery for a brain tumor at the University Medical Center in Utrecht.

Surgeons asked him to sing while they operated in order to test brain function. They even provided a decent piano accompanist in the operating theatre.

Ambrož is now doing well and has resumed his career.

His courage is phenomenal. The video is breath-catching, a huge testament to human endeavour in science and art.

You must watch this.

Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne

‘Gute Nacht’ from Schubert’s Winterreise will never sound the same again.


  • Patrick says:

    Which is the greater miracle? Brain surgery or this beautiful music and his lovely singing?

  • Gerhard says:

    This is absolutely awesome, and so is everyone involved: the surgical team, the patient, and let’s not forget the wonderfully sensitive accompanist somewhere in the operating room. I will never listen again to this song without remembering this video. Thank you very much, Mr. Lebrecht, for bringing it to our attention. And I was very pleased to read in the linked article that the operation was successful and that Mr. Bajec-Lapajne was able to resume his career in the meantime. My best wishes to him!

  • Marianne Weltmann says:

    Such a breath-taking cooperation of art and science. So much love and courage. This first song of Schubert’s Winterreise takes me way back to childhood. So happy that this great artist is singing again.

  • Jan de Jong says:

    A truly breath taking and heroic performance by all involved. Thank you for posting this video of comfert and hope .

  • David says:

    Obviously there are unique and profound relationships between music and the brain, but what was the point of this exercise?
    Did the singing benefit the surgery/surgeons?
    Did the surgery benefit the singing?

    If patients are normally conscious and asked to interact with doctors/nurses during brain surgery, then I find this no more remarkable than someone being asked to recite Walt Whitman.

    HOWEVER, I’d love to know if singing during brain surgery can help the surgeon. I can easily imagine a scenario where monitoring the brain during singing surgery, a surgeon could benefit…