Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Opera Singer Performs During His Own Brain Surgery

The Slovenian tenor Ambroz Bajec-Lapajne was diagnosed last year with an aggressive malignant brain tumor immediately required surgery.
But it wasn't a conventional brain surgery: Doctors at the University Medical Center Utrecht kept the singer conscious under local anesthetic and asked him to perform. Recently, Bajec-Lapajne posted a video to YouTube of the operation.
Joined by a pianist in the operating room, the tenor delivers the first and last couplets of Schubert's "Gute Nacht" (in major and minor) so doctors could monitor his ability to sing and recognize key changes.
In the most dramatic moment of the video (at about the 2:40 mark), Bajec-Lapajne stops singing and appears to be drifting away, but he was able to restart his song from the beginning after a short break. watch here

Taking the Starch Out of Orchestra Attire

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Surgeons Perform Better with Music, Study Finds

Doctors doing a surgery. (Oleg Ivanov/Shutterstock)
When surgeons listen to music in the operating room, they're more efficient at closing incisions, and their technique improves, a small study has found.
Researchers asked 15 plastic surgery residents at the University of Texas Medical Branch to close incisions in pig's feet – which are widely accepted as similar to human skin – on two consecutive days. In the first trial, half the residents worked in a silent operating room, but the other half got to listen to music of their choice while they stitched. For the second trial, the two groups switched. more

As the Met Abandons Blackface, a Look at the Legacy of African Americans in Opera

A poster for Sissieretta Jones, 1889 (image courtesy Library of Congress) (click to enlarge)
A poster for Sissieretta Jones, 1889 (image courtesy Library of Congress)

In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois portrays a newcomer to the world of opera, enthralled by the Prelude to Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. John “sat in dreamland, and started when, after a hush, rose high and clear the music of Lohengrin’s swan. … Who had called him to be the slave and butt of all? And if he had called, what right had he to call when a world like this lay open before men?”  more