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Feel Good Friday – The Powerful Connection Between Science, Love and Music

I’m a professional opera, concert and choral singer that was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The neurosurgeon’s (prof. Dr. Pierre Robe) advice was to do an awake craniotomy so that I could sing during the surgery (on June 13th 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. There is no blood or exposed flesh in the video.

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. All is fine until min. 2:40 when things start to get very interesting…

It’s been more than a year since and I’m doing fine, continuing my professional singing career.

{ 9 comments }
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Dawn February 10, 2017, 3:49 am

    How amazing! And scary.

    -Dawn

  • Monika February 10, 2017, 5:15 am

    That was fascinating to watch.

  • NostalgicGal February 10, 2017, 9:56 am

    Bravo. I studied opera from ages 13 to 18, and permanently altered my body because of it. My first teacher warned me of it and I mulled it before embarking. I can totally commensurate all the way around.

    Brain surgery is often done ‘conscious’ so you can respond so the surgeon knows what impact he/she is having while they do the work. I have heard of people bringing a guitar into the surgical suite to play/play&sing, and others doing other things. Bravo. May the future be as bright as the past. May you the OP still be doing shiningly. Go Go GO!

    At 55 I am adding another language and it is not easy, plus unlearning all the phonetic training to fake the language(s) I could sing but not speak. I have killed the trilled R after 5 months of intensive work-which has massively improved other languages I spoke ‘flat’. I so relate to this one….. Onwards and upwards OP. May it take many decades to silence your voice. May the passion always drive you.

  • Linda February 10, 2017, 10:50 am

    That is absolutely fascinating!

  • ColoradoCloudy February 10, 2017, 11:41 am

    This is incredible. What a wonderful thing, to be able to be awake and communicating with the doctors, and even to sing! The lady sitting next to him, she is so kind and reassuring.

  • Miss Herring February 10, 2017, 12:07 pm

    This is fascinating to watch, and he has such a lovely voice!

    The video is perfectly safe for those with weak stomaches, but if you have one, do NOT choose to “watch on YouTube,” as the display images for other, related videos may be too much for you.

  • Dee February 11, 2017, 1:45 am

    Brave man and wonderful surgical team. I’m glad he decided to share this. The body and mind are fascinating.

  • Mojo February 11, 2017, 3:45 am

    200 years ago we were chopping off limbs and sealing with hot tar. Now an opera singer can perform beautifully while skilled technicians tinker with his brain. I’m sorry I won’t see what another 200 years can bring!

  • April Damon February 13, 2017, 6:40 pm

    That was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever watched. It was a bit terrifying too, to be honest, because you start thinking about how amazing it is that humans are operating on brains while people are awake and how easily it could all go wrong.

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