“BBC Singer of the World” Nicole Cabell | Courtesy

As a way to make opera more accessible, the Kentucky Opera is scaling down its elaborate productions and bringing a more intimate, low-key experience to the stage of a rock venue for its second annual “Sidecar” concert on Saturday.

The 90-minute show at Mercury Ballroom will feature three highly acclaimed performers who will sing the classics of the American songbook cabaret-style. The setting will be speakeasy-like, harkening back to the days of smoky lounges, a laid-back vibe and sophisticated, dressy attire (for those on stage).

Performing in “Sidecar” will be soprano Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 “BBC Singer of the World” competition; tenor Mario Rojas, member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera in Chicago; and pianist Craig Terry, music director of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera.

Tenor Mario Rojas | Courtesy

Three signature cocktails, named after each performer, will be part of the menu, and in true speakeasy fashion, there will be table-side drink service. From a glance at the cocktail’s recipes, it looks like all three will be tasty in their own way.

The Grand Rojas will feature Old Forester, ginger liqueur, Grand Marnier, fortified wine and honey; CT’S Revenge goes with Woodford Reserve, pomegranate and peach liqueur and lemon juice; and the Cabell Car includes lemon vodka, amaretto, ginger liqueur and lemon juice.

And, of course, the Mercury Ballroom’s full bar will be available as well.

“Sidecar” starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the Mercury Ballroom, 611 S. Fourth St. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $75 for seats and $150 for VIP (with table service).

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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