The Bar That Hosts Open Mic Operaoke Nights

Fun article I think I found on  There is a bar in Portland, OR called Mendelssohn’s, run by a descendant of composer Felix Mendelssohn who has some opera and classical music cred having been executive director of both types of organizations.  The owner has positioned the bar as a place to demystify opera and classical music by programming a wide variety of musicians and hosting Operaoke nights.

Every other Tuesday night, musicians are given the opportunity to step into the dimly-lit bar and take over the stage, enchanting the audience with their best arias and ballads.
“We spend so much time preparing and working on this craft,” Lipton said. “You don’t often get the opportunity to play or sing or do these pieces that are lesser known. So this is kind of an avenue to do that.”

In addition to being able to perform lesser known pieces, the a Operaoke host/performer, Alex Trull noted another part of the appeal was being able to perform in a low stakes environment in contrast to the audition/training/performance context that comprises so much of the classical or operatic artist’s relationship with the music.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Leave a Comment