Nick and Lindsay Williams of New Orleans, Louisiana, combine their musical talents with dramatic acts—a performance that most certainly lives up to its name, Sideshow Opera. Nick first combined music and sideshow by singing opera while laying on a bed of nails. Lindsay joined in the symphony by playing the violin, but she wanted a circus talent of her own. Inspired by 1940s armless performer Judge Desmuke, Lindsay taught herself the art of knife throwing—with her feet!
Naturally, Ripley’s had many questions for the pair regarding their time together and the dangerously incredible acts of Sideshow Opera.
Q: How has your classical training led you to Sideshow Opera?
A: Nick’s intense vocal training included his teacher stacking heavy books on his diaphragm to build breath support, which has led to Nick being able to sing opera while Lindsay uses a sledgehammer to smash cinder blocks on his chest while he’s lying on a bed of nails!
Q: What inspired you to combine sideshow acts with opera and classical music?
A: We both find that the dramatics of classical music go very well theatrically with the dramatics and emotions that sideshow and circus acts create. We wanted to make classical music and opera more accessible to all ages and walks of life. Going to the opera or experiencing “high art” has always been an expensive experience, which can alienate some. There has also been a lack of interest in going to the opera recently, so we wanted to make something that could resonate with anyone by making opera and classical music more interesting, edgy, and fun.
The couple has taken their musical sideshow act across the country, having found a way to combine their love of music, each other, and history into a one-of-a-kind performance art. You can find Nick and Lindsay’s full story inside Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Beyond the Bizarre!